Jeffrey Chester

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Jeffrey Chester is the founder and executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. He "has been an important force in public-interest media issues for more than twenty years. His book Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy, will be published in January 2007 by The New Press. In 1992, he co-founded the nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based Center for Media Education (CME), along with Kathryn Montgomery, Ph.D. Jeff was a co-founder of the Telecommunications Policy Roundtable, and helped write its groundbreaking set of principles for the digital age in 1993.

"In 1995-1996, during the debate on the Telecommunications Act, he played a key role in fighting proposed deregulatory ownership measures for the broadcasting, newspaper, and cable industries. In 1996, Newsweek magazine named him one of the Internet's fifty most influential people. In 2000, Jeff created CME's project on open access and the future of the Internet, which he transferred to the Center for Digital Democracy upon the establishment of that organization in 2001. He is credited with helping to frame the debate and for uncovering key industry documents that helped expose the cable industry's plans for the Internet. During 2000 he co-led the effort, to impose conditions on the merger of AOL and Time Warner. In 2001, he was awarded a prestigious Public Interest Pioneer Grant from the Stern Family Fund. Under his leadership, CDD played a pivotal role fighting the plans of FCC Chairman Michael Powell, during 2001-3, to further sweep away media ownership safeguards. Jeff led the campaign during 2004-6 to expose how the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, under former Chair Kenneth Tomlinson, was engaged in a pressure campaign designed to weaken news and public affairs programming on PBS.

"Prior to his media policy career, Jeff was a psychiatric social worker, investigative journalist, and a documentary filmmaker. His work has appeared on PBS, NPR and in many print publications. He also co-led the successful effort that resulted in the Congressional creation of the Independent Television Service. Jeff was also a co-founder of the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, an artists rights advocacy group. He received his MSW in Community Mental Health from UC Berkeley in 1978 and his BA in psychology from California State University, San Francisco in 1975." [1]

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  1. Steering Committee, Media and Democracy Coalition, accessed January 29, 2008.

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