On June 2, the five-member Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to loosen restrictions on corporate media ownership, thereby opening the door to even greater corporate control of America’s public airwaves and print media.
Clearly, this decision threatens consumer choice, the survival of independent media outlets, freedom of expression in the media, and the diversity of local news.
We need your help now to urge Congress to overturn the FCC decision.
The FCC decision will allow individual corporations to own a larger number of television stations both locally and nationally; to own more TV and radio stations in a specific market; and to own both television and newspapers in the same market.
The FCC vote flew in the face of public opinion and even Congressional recommendations. Hundreds of thousands of Americans wrote to the FCC in passionate opposition to the proposed decision—especially since the FCC had held only one public hearing to discuss the rule changes. Organizations as diverse as the National Rifle Association, Common Cause, and MoveOn.org joined forces to oppose the changes. Even media executives such as Ted Turner, founder of CNN, expressed deep reservations about the new rules. The FCC ignored this powerful coalition of concerned citizens.
Last week the Center for Public Integrity published a report revealing that, in the last eight years, FCC officials have taken over 2500 trips—most paid for by the very broadcasting industries the FCC is supposed to regulate—at a total cost of $2.8 million. The FCC vote is just the latest example of corporate influence on federal agencies.
What You Can Do
Congress has also been very concerned about the FCC vote. During the last weeks, more than 100 Members of the House and 20 Members of the Senate contacted the FCC to urge a delay in the vote in order to consider the issues more deeply. Now, given the public outcry against the new rules, Congress is considering legislation that would reverse the FCC decision.
- Please contact your Representative and Senators immediately and urge them to support legislation overturning the FCC vote. You can obtain the phone number, email address, and mailing address for your Representative and Senators at http://www.congress.org; just enter your zip code at the top of the page and click “GO.” (See also sample email below.)
- Please don't stop with just one contact. Follow up with your Representative and Senators and find out what steps they are taking to restore the original FCC rules.
- Please contact your family, friends, and business associates and ask them to keep the pressure on their Representatives and Senators by following these simple steps.
Your participation is vital, and we thank you in advance for your timely action.
I strongly urge you to support legislation that will overturn the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission to relax regulations on corporate ownership of our media. I am deeply concerned about the impact the new FCC rules may have on consumer choice, the survival of independent media outlets, freedom of expression in the media, and the diversity of local news content. I want less corporate control of the news media, not more. As your constituent, I look forward to hearing from you about your plans to deal with this vitally important issue. Thank you.