FCC Public Hearing Opens In Harrisburg
February 23, 2007 at 11:19 AM (PT)
FCC Chairman KEVIN MARTIN opened today's HARRISBURG hearing on media ownership by pointing out that the Commission has "three core goals that our rules are intended to further: competition, diversity and localism. I recognize many of the concerns expressed about increased consolidation and preservation of diversity. Also critical to our review is exploring and understanding the competitive realities of the media marketplace. Some of our rules have not been updated for years and may no longer reflect the current marketplace. Indeed, the Third Circuit recognized this fact when it upheld the Commission's elimination of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban. It is our task then to respond to the Court by ensuring that our ownership rules take into account the competitive environment in which media companies operate and promote localism and diversity."
I'm going to be doing everything I can to make sure we donâ??t have a repeat of the Powell near-catastrophe.
Read MARTIN's full opening statement here.
Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS later spoke to the crowd and launched on MARTIN's predecessor: "Three years ago when former FCC Chairman MICHAEL POWELL rammed his ill-advised new rules allowing fewer media players to buy up more media outlets, 3 million people contacted the FCC to voice their outrage. Congress joined in, and then the Third Circuit Court of Appeals right here in this state decided those rules were badly flawed -- both substantively and procedurally -- and sent them back to us. Well, I'm going to be doing everything I can to make sure we don’t have a repeat of the POWELL near-catastrophe.
"But I'm not stopping there because I think now we can stop playing just defense and go on the offense and talk about more than avoiding bad new rules -- we should revisit the bad old rules that got us into this mess in the first place. And we should go on from there to restore meaningful public interest responsibilities on our broadcast media -- like an honest-to-goodness licensing system that doesn’t grant licenses slam-dunk automatically but stops to judge if a license-holder is really doing its job to serve the common good."
Read COPPS' remarks here.
Commissioner JONATHAN ADELSTEIN echoed COPPS' remarks when he said, "We should learn from our mistakes in 2003, when the FCC attempted to implement the most destructive rollback of our media ownership protections in the history of American broadcasting." More here.