NAB VP Takes Aim At FCC Chairman's Comments On Media Rule 'Upgrades'
August 20, 2015 at 11:24 AM (PT)
NAB SVP/Legal & Regulatory Affairs JERIANNE TIMMERMAN weighed in TODAY (8/20) with criticism of FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER's blog post last week about "upgrading" the FCC's media rules (NET NEWS 8/13), pointing out that WHEELER omitted any mention of the Commission's inaction on updating ownership rules despite the Congressional mandate that the agency review and update the rules on a quadrennial basis. The Commission, she wrote, "has cavalierly disregarded its obligation under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to complete the 2010 quadrennial ownership review."
In her own blog post at the NAB website, TIMMERMAN took aim at the ownership restrictions as outdated and charged, "If the FCC’s criteria for determining whether its rules should be eliminated depends primarily on their age – as the Chairman’s blog implied with regard to the '50-year old' program exclusivity rules – then the almost octogenarian ownership rules should be long gone from the FCC’s books."
"Retaining the current newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban," she wrote, "would require the Commission to show that competition and diversity in the media marketplace have not changed since 1975. Obviously, that is impossible to show ... Despite last week’s story about updating FCC rules to “better reflect today’s media marketplace,” the cross-ownership prohibition stands unchanged, nearly two decades since the Commission began reexamining it."
"Rather than indulging in misplaced self-praise over eliminating rules that are as important as ever in the video marketplace," TIMMERMAN concluded, "The Commission must stop willfully and blatantly ignoring its statutory duty to, borrowing a phrase from Chairman WHEELER, promote the 'public interest' and 'help ensure the continued viability' of free, over-the-air broadcast service."
Read TIMMERMAN's post here.