Public Interest Groups Praise FCC Cable Reform Proposals

For Immediate Release

Free Press
Contact: 

Jen Howard,  (202) 265-1490 x22 or (703) 517-6273

Public Interest Groups Praise FCC Cable Reform Proposals

WASHINGTON - Today, the Federal Communications Commission released the agenda for
its Dec. 18 meeting. It includes a Report & Order to reform the
rules of cable carriage complaints and help resolve basic process
issues for independent and minority programmers who have been denied
carriage.

The agenda also contains a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
that will look into the issues of channel bundling, pricing and
mandatory channel placement within the cable industry. Free Press,
Media Access Project and Consumers Union issued the following
statements:

Shawn Chang, deputy policy director, Free Press:

"We applaud Chairman Martin for advancing a set of modest but
critical reform proposals that would help improve the diversity of
ownership in cable programming. This is an issue of basic fairness:
Cable companies have been leveraging their enormous market power to
shut out independent content. We are also pleased that the chairman has
launched a new inquiry into the anti-competitive activities that drive
up consumer rates and limit the diversity of voices on cable systems."

Parul Desai, associate director, Media Access Project:

"MAP is pleased Chairman Martin has circulated an order and
rulemaking that will address the public's interest in having access to
diverse and independent programming on cable systems. We remain
optimistic the commission will conclude that carriage complaint reform
is much needed and take the necessary steps to review the practices of
cable programmers in their dealings with cable operators. MAP is
especially anxious for the commission to adopt an order that will
enable independent programmers access to viewers. Despite access to
hundreds of channels, many viewers remain disappointed with their
choice of programming."

Joel Kelsey, policy analyst, Consumers Union:

"The FCC's proposed guidelines will accelerate a clear and
evenhanded resolution of disputes between cable companies and TV
programmers -- this reform should mean more diverse programming and
lower prices for consumers."

Read the FCC's agenda: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-287123A1.pdf

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