Burlington, VT founded a public telecom company, making it a model for local empowerment against rapacious telecom corporations. It offers cable, internet and phone via a fiber network. With their autonomy, they decided to carry Al-Jazeera, English. Since then, a few small groups launched campaigns to remove it from the lineup with a referendum vote.
While the protests claimed Al-Jazeera’s English channel is anti-American and rife with Islamic fundamentalism, those arguing to keep the network call it a window into the rest of the world. They see the protesters as small-minded and pushing their views on the rest of Burlington. Of about 200 letters to Burlington Telecom, the majority supported keeping it.
As we approach the end of the Bush presidency, it should be apparent to everyone that the the old thinking of “us good, them bad” is failing and having destructive repercussions. It is time Americans engage the world and expose themselves to voices beyond our borders. Al-Jazeera, English represents just that. Burlington, VT is exceptionally progressive, but these questions should be raised in every community around the country — most of which do not have televised access to Al-Jazeera, English.Filed Under Al-Jazeera, media, television, Will