Seattle City Council Resolution

by ,

A RESOLUTION in support of diversity in media ownership.

WHEREAS, freedom of the press and public access to diverse media are prerequisites for a functioning democracy; and

WHEREAS, the broadcast airwaves are owned commonly by the public, and should be managed to serve the public interest; and

WHEREAS, adherence to the highest journalistic principles is a public trust; and

WHEREAS, the public interest is best served by the availability of a broadly diverse range of viewpoints; and

WHEREAS, media diversity is seriously threatened by further consolidation of media ownership in an already highly concentrated market; and

WHEREAS, deregulation of radio ownership rules under the 1996 Telecommunications Act caused unprecedented consolidation, dramatically decreasing competition; and

WHEREAS, radio industry consolidation has also damaged local accountability and content diversity, in part by shifting control and resources away from local programmers and towards central managers, which has led to reductions in local news and public affairs programming, and reduced access to the airwaves for local musicians, community groups and public officials; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission is currently considering an unprecedented rollback of media ownership regulations which protect competition, content diversity and local accountability in our media; and

WHEREAS, the elimination or weakening of these regulations would worsen the effects of radio industry consolidation to date, as ownership deregulation will reduce competition, local accountability, diversity of content and voices, and the amount and quality of news coverage in broadcast and print media across the country, while providing windfall profits for a small handful of corporate media owners;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:

We recognize that as citizens in a democracy, we require public access to a diverse range of media voices and messages, in order to participate fully in our community's shared social, cultural and political life.

We urge the Federal Communications Commission to resist attempts to repeal the cross-ownership ban and further urge the Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to protect content diversity and press freedom by retaining and strengthening existing media ownership regulations, including regulations that limit the number of stations one owner may hold.

We further call upon the Congress to exercise its oversight in the area of federal communications policy through public hearings on media ownership issues; and to pursue legislation aimed at protecting our democratic media by prohibiting further media consolidation.

Adopted unanimously by the City Council the 3rd day of March, 2003.

article originally published at .
The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey