UPDATED 15:56 EDT / JULY 14 2009

New Interfaith Media Coalition Launches Campaign to ‘Bring Betty Broadband’

A coalition of religious organizations seeking to raise awareness of people still technologically disadvantaged on Tuesday launched a joint campaign to “Bring Betty Broadband.”

The name for the coalition, “So We Might See,” which plans to develop a network of individuals and congregations that will focus greater public attention on a range of media policy issues, said Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive director of the United Church of Christ’s Office of Communication, Inc., in a press release.

“We want to work together to build a more responsible, accessible, and inclusive media,” said Guess.

The coalition includes the National Council of Churches, U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Islamic Society of North America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, image Mennonite Media, and United Methodist Communications, the release said.

The “Bring Betty Broadband” campaign aims to increase public attention on those who still lack access to high-speed internet services.

The group is also planning other campaigns later in the year on network neutrality, violence in the media, and what the groups regards as excessive commercialization.

The viral campaign is built around the woes of a “fictional-but-reality-based” Betty, a new computer owner who lacks broadband access. BringBettyBroadband.org includes advocacy materials to bring greater attention to broadband deployment, affordability and access education.

“‘So We Might See’ is committed to producing edgy viral campaigns and sophisticated electronic messaging that will attract thousands to pay attention to important policy considerations that relate to the media and our daily lives,” said the Rev. Jerry L. Van Marter.

The coalition is planning a gathering on September 30 in New York, in partnership with the 27th annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture.

[Editor’s note: This article comes from Douglas Streeks, over at BroadbandCensus, a Washington D.C. based publication with embedded reporters and writers from inside the beltway, dedicated to covering the issues in and around broadband access and deployment.]

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