MMTC Reply Comments Have Strong Words For FCC Inaction In Multilingual EAS Docket
June 13, 2014 at 12:39 PM (PT)
The MINORITY MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL has filed its reply comments in the FCC's multilingual Emergency Alert System docket (which was based on the MMTC's own proposal for EAS alert procedures for languages other than English).
The reply complains that, nine years after Hurricane KATRINA, "the Commission has made no significant progress to ensure that non-English speaking residents will have access to lifesaving information before, during, and in the wake of an emergency" and urges the FCC "to correct this oversight before AUGUST 29th, the nine-year anniversary of this devastating natural disaster."
"Broadcasters should be required to work with local governments and other broadcast stations to develop a plan that communicates each party’s responsibilities in reasonably anticipated emergency circumstances to help ensure that non-English speaking populations receive timely access to both emergency alert system (EAS) alerts and non-EAS emergency information," the MMTC writes, adding, "The industry has had nine years to act voluntarily to solve this problem, yet not a single broadcast market having large multilingual populations but few or no multilingual stations has implemented a multilingual broadcasting plan."
Asserting that the FCC "should prioritize human lives above the minimal costs of requiring broadcasters to serve their communities in times of greatest need," the filing concludes that as another hurricane season approaches, "We need federal intervention yesterday and that’s not soon enough."
Commission's Non-Consideration Of Diversity Proposals: Why?
The MMTC also, in a separate filing, asked the Commission for clarification of why 23 diversity proposals submitted to the Quadrennial Review of the ownership rules were deemed "outside the scope" of the proceeding and not considered in that docket, noting that "seven of these proposals were developed by the Commission’s own expert Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age and several were supported by a number of business and consumer organizations." "Since we cannot believe that the agency would deliberately defy a court order that essentially requires it to consider these 23 proposals 'at the same time' as the agency undertook the review of its ownership rules," the MMTC writes, "the Commission’s refusal to consider these proposals has to be an honest mistake."