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Today, on 30 October, the U.S. Congress is holding a hearing on the recent postage rate hike that has brought some small and independent publications to the brink of financial disaster. Take a stand: help Free Press, a non-profit org dedicated to promoting democratic media policy, collect 100,000 signatures to stamp out the rate hikes.

In July, the postal rates for many of the magazines in the U.S. increased by 20 to 30 percent, due to a decision made by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to increase postal rates for small and independent publications. Independent magazine "The Nation" says they are now saddled with a half million dollar annual increase in postal costs.

The new rates, proposed by publishing giant Time Warner, are largely determined by a publisher's ability to take advantage of discounts awarded for shipping efficiencies - an advantage only available to the largest publishers.

The postal rate, a departure from more than 200 years of postal policy that encouraged "a vibrant marketplace of ideas," threatens the hundreds of small magazines from across the political spectrum and puts diverse, independent free speech at risk.

Free Press is collecting signatures to get Congress to reverse the hike. Take action here:

(30 October 2007)

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