Nov. 1, 2007 · With protesters dressed in Halloween costumes gathered outside, the five members of the Federal Communications Commission listened to testimony from a panel of critics who lambasted any plans to ease media ownership rules.
“If you further deregulate media in this country, networks, broadcast stations and newspapers will continue to consolidate, resulting in fewer voices heard by citizens,” warned radio host Bob Edwards, speaking on behalf of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. “If commercial media are given the unfettered right to abandon their obligation to serve the public interest, they will do just that. Please do not let this happen.”
The two Democratic commissioners, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, echoed the statements of those on the panel during the public hearing on consolidation issues.
“Consolidation denigrates diversity, denies minorities and women, and diminishes our already-distorted democratic dialogue,” Copps said. “It seems to get worse with almost each passing week. I, for one, can wait no longer. If we truly believe in localism, the time has come to do something about it.”
The FCC’s three Republican commissioners favor relaxing ownership rules. And commission Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, has suggested Dec. 18 as a deadline for on the agency to decide whether to ease limits on how many media outlets a company may own in one market.