The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Timothy Karr: 201-533-8838,,

FCC Holds Public Hearing on Media Ownership

Free Press Urges More Public Hearings on Media in Digital Age


part of its 2010 review of media ownership rules, the Federal
Communications Commission is holding a public hearing today in Palo
Alto, Calif., on the impact of media consolidation and technological
innovation on journalism.

In addition to the
public workshops the FCC has held to date, the Commission is expected
to soon issue a Notice of Inquiry soliciting public comment and
research to inform its review of current ownership rules.

"The FCC is facing significant pressure by big media companies to
dramatically weaken media ownership rules and allow them to control
even more local media," said Corie Wright,
Free Press policy counsel. "Free Press urges the Commission to hold
additional hearings after it has issued its Notice of Inquiry, so
members of the public can continue to weigh in on the impact of media
consolidation in their communities."

"People still
get most of their news from local broadcasters and newspapers. Allowing
more media consolidation will mean more job losses and shuttered
newsrooms. When major stories go uncovered - or are only covered from a
single perspective -- our democracy suffers," Wright said.

These workshops have reinforced the importance of media ownership rules
in promoting diversity and competition in local media markets. The
rules govern the number of broadcast outlets one company can own in a
single media market, and are intended to promote access to diverse
voices and viewpoints, prevent undue concentration of power, and
encourage competition.

"When the same old media players control most of the news and
information that people access online, the promise of the Internet is
an empty one," said Brandy Doyle,
regulatory policy associate with the Prometheus Radio Project. In
allowing huge corporations to take over more and more media outlets,
deregulation of media ownership will make it even harder for innovative
news models to survive, online or off. Communities need access to a
diversity of news sources."

Panelists for the
public workshop include Tim Westergren, founder, Pandora Music; Eddy W.
Hartenstein, publisher and CEO, the Los Angeles Times; Jim Joyce,
president, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians,
and vice president, Communications Workers of America; and Alan Mutter,
publisher. The full agenda can be found here:

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

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