MMTC Lobbies FCC On Multilingual EAS
August 5, 2010 at 4:24 AM (PT)
The MINORITY MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL met with the leadership of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau WEDNESDAY (8/4) to lobby for multilingual EAS.
In an ex parte meeting letter, MMTC President/Exec. Dir. DAVID HONIG said that he met with bureau Chief Adm. JAMIE BARRETT, Deputy Chief LISA M FOWLKES, and Chief of the Policy Division THOMAS J. BEERS, telling them about the MMTC's Petition for Extraordinary Relief on Multilingual EAS and asserting that "efforts in 2007 to resolve the issue collaboratively had failed and, as a practical matter, cannot succeed. The Commission will need to exercise leadership because this kind of public safety issue cannot be resolved by "self-regulation.'"
Noting that cell phones, adopted quickly by the minority population, has largely solved the issue of notice of an emergency, HONIG said that "the problem today is receiving information in-language during and after an emergency. Only terrestrial radio has the capability to provide that service, owing to radio's ubiquity, transportability, and independence from the electric grid." Saying that broadcasters should offer multilingual EAS if "a broadcast license means anything at all," HONIG contended, "This is not expensive. There is no rational reason not to require each market's broadcasters to come up with a multilingual EAS plan ... this is a moral question requiring leadership such as that exercised by President JOHNSON in 1965 when he sought passage of the Voting Rights Act by declaring on national television 'We Shall Overcome.'"