MEDIA OWNERSHIP DEJA VU
Common Cause, October 16, 2007
Kevin Martin, the chair of the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC), has indicated that he wants to vote to loosen media
ownership limits by early December. But he's not saying exactly what
the new rules would be. He wants his agency to make this
crucial decision behind closed doors, without public input.
It's eerily similar to what happened in 2003, when the FCC voted in
secret to allow one company to control up to eight radio stations, three
television stations, the local newspaper and the cable system in a
Tell Congress to rein in
In 2003, the courts threw out the FCC's flawed media ownership rules, in
large part because the public wasn't part of the process. But
Kevin Martin hasn't learned his lesson. He wants to lock the
public out. That's not acceptable.
Common Cause members and other activists across the
nation have sent hundreds of thousands of comments to the FCC opposing
media consolidation. Those messages ought to mean something. But if
Kevin Martin gets his way, he'll disregard the public's voice
and approve new rules without giving us any opportunity to weigh in on
If the FCC won't listen to the public, Congress can
and should exercise its oversight power. The media ownership rules
govern how we get news and information -- and that's especially
important in an election year. Without diverse sources of
information, we can't have a healthy debate about our nation's future,
or a healthy democracy.
For the past three years, activists like you have held off a vote on
rules that would allow Big Media to get even bigger. Let's keep the
pressure on. Tell Congress to stand up for us.
Thanks for all you do.
President, Common Cause