Press Release: Rethink Press delivers 23,000+ signatures to Comcast headquarters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2012

CONTACTS:
Michael Haack, Co-founder, Rethink Press, Mike@rethinkpress.org

Meredith Larson, Co-founder, Rethink Press, Meredith@rethinkpress.org

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

ACTIVISTS BRING AL JAZEERA ENGLISH TO COMCAST

Activists performed mock news report on the sidewalk following the delivery of a petition with over 23,000 signatures to Comcast Cable headquarters
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Monday, February 13th, members of Rethink Press, a grassroots media activist group, delivered a petition hosted on Change.org with over 23,000 signatures.

 

The petition calls on Comcast to provide customers with 24-hour cable access to Al Jazeera English, an internationally acclaimed news network that broadcasts to over 250 million households in 120 countries but is available 24-hours a day in only 5 metropolitan areas in the United States.

 

Rethink Press members were joined by Occupy Philadelphia activists who were participating in a day of action for freedom of speech. The group of approximately 40 activist walked to Comcast’s corporate headquarters, holding signs that read, “Democracy loves Information,” “Global Voices” and “We Deserve the Story.”

 

When protesters arrived at Comcast headquarters, a dozen security officers and representatives from the building management explained that all three entrances to the building were locked down and that visitors were not permitted.

 

After a brief negotiation, Mike Haack and Xi Wang, co-founders of Rethink Press, were escorted inside to deliver the 800-page petition. They left the petition in the mailroom and were told that it would be delivered to Jenni Moyer, Comcast’s Director of Public Relations.

 

“Comcast gave us the cold shoulder” reported Wang.  “We showed up their door with 23,092 signatures on a petition asking them to carry Al Jazeera English, and they couldn’t even spare an intern to meet with us. Is this how they want to treat their customers and the general public?”

 

After delivering the petition, Rethink Press members they performed a “live from the sidewalk” airing of some of the day’s top Al Jazeera English news stories. Stories ranged from the presidential elections in Venezuela, to the recent discovery of a tiny primate in the Philippines that communicates using ultrasonic frequencies, to the complex relationship between the U.S. and Myanmar.

 

 

“We wanted to show people what they were missing, so we organized a theatrical reading of Al Jazeera English news in front of Comcast’s corporate offices,” said Haack. “It’s important to hear stories from under-represented areas, like the global south, and Al Jazeera English brings them to us.”

 

In a previous statement, Comcast noted that they do not have a carriage agreement with Al Jazeera English and that its customers can watch Al Jazeera English’s programming on the network’s website.

 

“They tell us we can watch it on the internet,” noted Wang. “Well then, what’s the point of having cable at all?”

Signature totals from Rethink’s campaign:
http://www.change.org/petitions/comcast-broadcast-al-jazeera-english-now

Journalists interested in contacting Comcast public relations staff should try:

Alana Davis, Spokesperson, Comcast
Alana_Davis@comcast.com
(202) 379-7150

For more information on Rethink Press, please visit:
http://rethinkpress.org
Rethink Press is a grassroots group that is working to raise awareness about the state of the journalism and media in the United States. We feel that to be well-rounded and well-informed citizens, Americans need and deserve to have access to high-quality local, national, and international news.

For more information on Change.org, please visit:
http://www.change.org/about
Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 1 million new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

 

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