When it comes to media consolidation, the Federal Communications Commission is feeling the heat from all sides. Today activists took to the streets outside the FCC headquarters to deliver more than 200,000 signatures from people all over the U.S. who are calling on the agency to halt its rush to gut media ownership protections.
The FCC has been trying to push through these bad rule changes as quietly as possible and the mainstream media — which doesn’t like to report on itself — has gone along for the ride.
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So today we took matters into our own hands. We printed out hundreds of our own broadsheet newspaper —the Free Press — and distributed them to passersby, highlighting opposition to greater media consolidation from the courts, Congress, civil rights leaders and President Barack Obama. Get your own copy here.
Free Press and CREDO Action collected the 200,000 signatures in under a month’s time. This is the greatest number of signatures on media ownership submitted to the agency in recent years.
“Here’s a news flash for the FCC: The public hates the idea of more media consolidation,” said Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron.
Free Press plans to sue the FCC if it ignores the public and moves ahead with its rule changes. Free Press and our allies have sued the FCC twice before and won both times.
Nearly 50 House members and 13 senators have also written letters warning the FCC that it must abandon its plan to relax media ownership rules. Most recently, Sen. Frank Lautenberg wrote a letter outlining how Rupert Murdoch’s local TV stations have ignored New Jersey communities. Indeed, as opposition grows, Murdoch’s News Corp. remains one of the few companies still pushing the FCC to lift the 30-year-old cross-ownership ban, which prevents a company from owning both a newspaper and TV stations in a single market.
“Chairman Genachowski should enforce the existing law, not push the other FCC commissioners to change the rules at Rupert Murdoch’s bidding,” said CREDO Political Director Becky Bond.
Responding to public pressure earlier this month, the FCC tried to kick the can down the road and delay its vote to the New Year. Today activists are making it clear that America won’t stand for more media consolidation and the FCC needs to back down altogether.