FCC's (Almost) Secret, Scary Halloween Hearings

By Staff

<p>Our friends at <a title=”Free Press” href=”http://www.freepress.net/” target=”_blank”>Free Press</a>, a national nonpartisan organization fighting to keep the public informed about and involved in the making of national media policy, organized a rally outside of Federal Communications Commission headquarters on Halloween morning. More than 150 citizens showed up, according to <a title=”a news release” href=”http://www.freepress.net/press/release.php?id=295″ target=”_blank”>a news release</a> sent out a few hours later, to urge the federal agency to vote against any rule changes that could result in more consolidation of media ownership.</p>
<p>Apparently, FCC Chairman and <a title=”big media booster Kevin Martin” href=”http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/17/1442219″ target=”_blank”>big media booster Kevin Martin</a> has proposed an “expedited timeline for rule changes that could allow a company to own a newspaper and several radio and television stations in a single city.”</p>
<p>It’s the same old power grab: Martin, like his predecessor, <a title=”Michael Powell” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Powell_(politician)” target=”_blank”>Michael Powell</a>, is trying to do his business-buddies’ bidding without giving the public proper notice. According to a joint release issued by FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein–lone Democrats and media reform heroes <a title=”profiled in the July/August issue of <I>Utne Reader</I>” href=”https://www.utne.com/politics/big-media-meets-its-match.aspx”>profiled in the July/August issue of <i>Utne Reader</i>
</a>–“neither we nor the public received any confirmation that the hearing would occur until … just 5 business days before the event.” A scheduling trick that is “unacceptable and unfair to the public.”</p>
<p>As of 2 p.m. on October 31, there was some good news from the hearing. The FCC has, according to <a title=”CNET” href=”http://www.news.com/FCC-bans-exclusive-TV-deals-for-cable/2100-1037_3-6216264.html?tag=nefd.top” target=”_blank”>CNET</a>, unanimously “approved a rule that would ban exclusive agreements that cable television operators have with apartment buildings, opening up competition for other video providers that could eventually lead to lower prices.”</p>
<span id=”ctl00_defaultmaster_Blog1″>
<em>–David Schimke</em>
<p>UPDATE: The FCC’s aggressive timetable may be delayed, <a href=”http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fcc1nov01,1,4674802.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=1&cset=true”>according to the <i>LA Times</i>
</a>. Commissioner Copps was quoted in the article saying, “A rush to judgment to clear the way for more big media mergers? No way.”</p>

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