Commissionï¿½s vote limits opportunity for minority media ownership and localism
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) calls on the U.S. Congress to reverse this week’s decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in allowing corporate ownership of both print and broadcast media in the same city. Despite a loud public outcry, on Tuesday the FCC voted 3-2 to relax a 30-year-old rule that prevented this kind of media monopoly. Dedicated to promoting fairness in media coverage and expanding entrepreneurship opportunities for journalists of color, NABJ strongly believes that media ownership should reflect the racial and ethnic make up of society and such a decision prohibits such diversity.
“Is the fourth estate to be sold to the highest bidder?” asked NABJ President Barbara Ciara. “Congress cannot allow the FCC to limit diverse voices and further prevent ownership opportunities to minorities.” In a letter this fall to FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin, NABJ took issue with his desire to lift the ban on these types of media takeovers, citing their impact on minority owners and journalists. With increasing media consolidation the number of minority owners will steadily decrease, wrote Ciara. The Commission has a responsibility to maintain its public interest obligations and in order to do so, there must be safeguards to ensure station leadership and programming is as diverse as the communities they represent.ï¿½