NAB, Public Interest Coalition File Replies In FCC's Public File Rule Change Proceeding
August 25, 2016 at 3:59 AM (PT)
The FCC has received three sets of reply comments this week in its public file rule revision proceeding, Media Bureau Docket 16-161.
In its reply, the NAB reiterated its support of the elimination of the requirement that stations retain and keep in their files all public correspondence, noting that SAGA COMMUNICATIONS' comments indicated that "not a single member of the public has visited a SAGA station in any one of its 26 markets to review documents in the public file in the last five years," a situation echoed by the BROADCASTER COALITION's comments. The NAB added that MEREDITH CORPORATION's comments pointed out that the public now uses the Internet and social media for comments about broadcasters. And the organization disputes the NATIONAL HISPANIC MEDIA COALITION's contention that the correspondence is "the most informative" part of the public files and tip it off to "hate speech" allegations, with the FCC saying that there are no instances showing that the NHMC actually reviewed a public file and may have missed the distinction between public files and the FCC's Consumer Help Center complaint system.
The NHMC filed its own reply, along with the AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR AND CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS, THE CENTER FOR MEDIA JUSTICE, COMMON CAUSE, COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA, FREE PRESS, and PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE, opposing the change to the public correspondence retention rule, alleging that "moving to an online-only format would frustrate poor people and people of color -- who still tend to rely on over-the-air television -- from effectively communicating with their local broadcasters."
And the AMERICAN CABLE ASSOCIATION focused once again on the elimination of the requirement that cable systems keep the location of their headends in their public files, suggesting again that keeping the information in the public files be retained as an option if a system finds it less burdensome than an alternative proactive filing with the Commission.