NABJ Calls On Congress To Reverse Decision
December 26, 2007 at 4:51 AM (PT)
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK JOURNALISTS (NABJ) has called on the U.S. Congress to reverse this week's decision by the FCC in allowing corporate ownership of both print and broadcast media in the same city. "Is the fourth estate to be sold to the highest bidder?" asked NABJ Pres. BARBARA CIARA. "Congress cannot allow the FCC to limit diverse voices and further prevent ownership opportunities to minorities."
In a letter this fall to FCC Commissioner KEVIN MARTIN, NABJ took issue with his desire to lift the ban on these types of media takeovers, citing their impact on minority owners and journalists.
"With increasing media consolidation the number of minority owners will steadily decrease," wrote CIARA. "The Commission has a responsibility to maintain its public interest obligations and in order to do so, there must be safeguards to ensure station leadership and programming is as diverse as the communities they represent."
"It becomes a major problem when you see that in a nation where 34% of the population are people of color, minorities own less than 10% of media outlets," said NABJ VP/Print ERNIE SUGGS. "NABJ will reach beyond the press gallery to congressional members and ensure this vote is reversed and our freedom of speech is not sacrificed by higher profits."