Amazing to Grumpy Editor is that few media outlets, operations that depend heavily on the Internet, reported or commented on the Obama administration’s plans to relinquish control --- effective next year --- of the body that manages the Web.
Some individuals and businesses feared the move could lead to loss of free speech if China or Russia oversee Internet content.
Created in 1998, the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) contracted with the U.S. to manage the maintenance of Internet-related databases and tasks.
Wall Street Journal technology reporter Gautham Nagesh suggested in a recent NPR interview that moving control of ICANN out of America’s hands could lead to a different tone when it comes to Internet freedoms, noted writer Cheryl K. Chumley in the Washington Times.
Chunley said Nagesh added that “if ICANN’s relationship with the U.S. changes, there’s fear that eventually it could move to another country or it would no longer be under the auspices of American law, which it is currently, and that would change the nature of the Internet itself in some people’s view.”
Also fearing the turnover to other nations, L. Gordon Crovitz, a former Wall Street Journal publisher, pointed out in a WSJ op-ed piece: “In the past few years, Russia and China have used a U.N. agency called the International Telecommunication Union to challenge the open Internet. They have lobbied for the ITU to replace Washington as the ICANN overseer.”
Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared, “Every American should worry about Obama giving up control of the Internet to an undefined group. This is very, very dangerous.”
In case you missed these…
MICHELLE OBAMA LEADS SIGHTSEEING IN CHINA. Now in day four of a week-long visit to communist China, Michelle Obama, accompanied by daughters Malia and Sasha, and her mother, Marian Robinson, are busy taking in the sights, including the Great Wall, the terra cotta warriors in Xian and the pandas in Sichuan province. The first lady’s theme for the trip is international education, including bolstering Chinese students to attend U.S. universities. Media are mum, however, on the 70 people in Mrs. Obama’s entourage from the U.S. --- and the cost to taxpayers.
BUSY COVER BRINGS FROWNS TO OLD TIMERS. Bloomberg Businessweek’s cover on the current “The Design” issue probably raises eyebrows of many “old school” layout folks. Boldface capital letters, in different sizes, were used straight on and on all sides to tout the contents, tempting readers to turn the cover up, down and sideways. Included among the seven teasers: “GOOD DESIGN IS LESS ABOUT TASTE BUT MORE ABOUT INTEGRITY. (Take a look at the cover and how it was made here.)
L.A. CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SEEK TO THWART MEDIA. Reporters covering Los Angeles City Hall are grumbling over proposed changes in security measures that will affect coverage of City Council meetings. Changes could limit access to the official City Hall “press suite,” where news conferences are held, and corridors behind council chambers.
DIFFICULT ECONOMY TRIGGERS MAGAZINE APPEAL TO READERS. ConsumerReports, citing its commitment to investing more than $25 million in product testing, is asking in a “special notice to members” for contributions “because of the difficult economy” so the adless magazine won’t have to cut back in its critical work. “Due to tough economic conditions, we’re seeing evidence that some manufacturers are beginning to ‘cut corners’ in ways that will undermine product quality and may even jeopardize product safety,” it warns.
N.C. NEWSPAPER SCRUBS TABLOID FORMAT. The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C. will revert to broadsheet format on May 1, ending nearly a five-year run as a tabloid. Going back to the larger size follows complaints by readers and advertisers who were vocal in criticizing the smaller tabloid format. In resuming the larger format, the newspaper returns to sections along with a new design that incorporates changes in layout and typography.
HAD ENOUGH OF WALL-TO-WALL TV COVERAGE OF MISSING MALAYSIAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 370? Despite the recent focus on debris sighted in the south Indian Ocean, 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia, Grumpy Editor agrees with retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a Fox News military analyst, that the Boeing 777 more likely was hijacked and took a difficult-to-observe, over-the-ocean route to Pakistan or eastern Iran.