Adelstein: we need to fight 'thinly disguised payola'

[via RadioInk]

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, speaking Sunday at the National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis, said the FCC needs to "put out a notice of proposed rulemaking to develop new rules to clarify that sponsorship identification has to be clear and understandable."

Adelstein continued, "We need to fight thinly disguised payola fueling homogenized corporate music that leaves no room for local and independent artists. We need to fight video news releases masquerading as news, with public relations agents pushing agendas that squeeze out real news
coverage and local community concerns. We need to fight product placements turning news and entertainment shows alike into undisclosed commercials."

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) was also in attendance at the conference, and Adelstein said it was a "special treat" having the Senator there. He thanked Dorgan for his efforts to overturn the FCC's revised newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, saying, "We are so grateful Senator Byron Dorgan led the Senate effort to kill the FCC's misguided decision to gut the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule." The new rules, adopted in December, allow newspapers in the top 20 markets to own one broadcast outlet and set a waiver process for combinations in smaller markets.

Adelstein also supported opening the airwaves to low-power FM stations and more minority voices and restoring broadcasters' public interest obligations, and called for universally accessible broadband and Internet neutrality to "keep the Internet open and free of discrimination." Adelstein said, "We cannot let what happened to our media happen to the Internet."

Adelstein also called for investigations into whether Department of Defense public relations programs violated anti-payola and anti-propaganda laws in what Adelstein called a "covert propaganda operation" to advance the Bush administration's message on the Iraq war.

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