Free Press Files 30,000-Signature Petition Urging FCC To Keep Media Ownership Restrictions
December 9, 2011 at 5:09 AM (PT)
FREE PRESS' latest filing with the FCC on media ownership was filed on THURSDAY, and it was a big one, a petition with over 30,000 signatures urging Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI to retain present media cross-ownership restrictions and to address issues of ownership diversity and consolidation in the Commission's review of the rules.
The filing in the Quadrennial Review docket stated, "Attached please find the signatures of nearly 30,000 people urging you to put the public interest first as you proceed with the 2010 Quadrennial Review of the Federal Communications Commission’s media ownership rules. Through this petition, we urge you to retain vital media cross-ownership protections. Furthermore, the FCC should strengthen rules to stop covert consolidation among media outlets and address the deep disparities in media ownership by women and people of color. The FCC should pursue broadcast policies that benefit the public — not corporate bottom lines."
Attached to that statement were 5,993 pages of comments from petition signers, all repeating the exact wording: "In exchange for using our airwaves for free, broadcasters are supposed to provide programming that fulfills community needs. But too often they focus on maximizing their profit margins while minimizing their obligation to serve the public. As the FCC reviews its ownership rules it must commit to strengthening our media -- and our democracy -- by putting the public interest before corporate profit: 1. The Commission must not consider any rules that would further concentrate media ownership. 2. The Commission’s review must address the deep and intractable disparities in media ownership by women and people of color. 3. The Commission must strengthen its rules to prevent companies from using local news sharing agreements to circumvent ownership limits and provide less public interest programming."
CORIE WRIGHT, Policy Counsel for FREE PRESS, said, "People all over the country are asking the FCC to put the public interest ahead of corporate interests. They want diverse and competitive local media. They've seen how media consolidation adversely impacts the news and information they get from local broadcasters and local newspapers.
"Unfortunately, in the past the FCC has often bowed to industry pressure to relax media ownership protections. Now we need Chairman GENACHOWSKI to remedy -- not repeat -- the mistakes of previous administrations. The public, Congress and the courts have all rejected more media consolidation, and it's time for the agency to strengthen its rules to promote competition and diversity in the media."