RTM statement at pre-hearing press conference

[RTM statement, Nov. 30 2006]

I'd like to offer my welcome and my thanks to Commissioners Adelstein and Copps for accepting Seattle's invitation to attend this forum--cosponsored by Reclaim the Media, The Seattle Times, KBCS Community Radio, the Minority Executive Directors Association and the UW Department of Communication--and largely organized by community volunteers. All cosponsors of tonight's event believe that the topic, the FCC's policies regulating consolidated ownership of media outlets, is an issue of overwhelming civic importance.

The Northwest has a distinguished history of civic engagement in media issues--through our engagement in policy debates as well as our development of new technologies and new social organizing models for creative, community-accountable independent media. Our voices are important ones for the FCC to hear. The FCC has committed to holding six official field hearings on media ownership, and as Congressman Inslee will affirm, we remain hopeful that Washington State will be home to one of these. In the meantime, we're pleased that two commissioners accepted the invitation that we extended to all five, to attend tonight's proceedings.

Tonight we're going to hear from a wide range of Northwest community voices: musicians, journalists, broadcasters, small businessmen and women, immigrants, academics, working people and consumers; liberals and conservatives. All of these are braving the cold to speak out tonight, understanding that just as our health is connected to the condition of the air we breathe and the water we drink, the health of our democracy depends on the condition of our media. The media environment, however, is not a product of nature--it's shaped by a complex history of social, economic, and especially governmental policy decisions. These decisions must be held accountable to the public interest.

Since 2002, Reclaim the Media has been working to help Northwest communities understand how we can become part of this process by involving citizens in media criticism, media production and media policy debate. In doing so, we are part of a growing national citizens movement centered around organizations like ours from Hawaii to Maine, working together for media that support social justice and sustain democratic values.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey