KCLC Passes Media Diversity Resolution

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At a Feb. 19 meeting, the King County Labor Council passed a resolution calling upon the FCC and Congress to protect media diversity by preventing further industry consolidation.

The KCLC includes several unions representing media industry employees, including AFTRA (radio/TV), the Newspaper Guild/CWA and the Seattle Musicians' Union (AFM).

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Resolution: Diversity in Media Content Requires Diversity in Media Ownership

WHEREAS:

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

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

Adherence to the highest journalistic principles is a public trust;

The public interest is best served by the availability of a broadly diverse range of viewpoints;

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

WHEREAS:

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

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. This 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.

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;

The elimination or weakening of these regulations would be highly likely to expand the negative effects of radio industry consolidation to date. Ownership deregulation will reduce competition, local accountability, diversity of content and voices, and amount/quality of news coverage in broadcast and print media across the country, while providing windfall profits for a small handful of corporate media owners;

RESOLVED:

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 and the Congress to protect content diversity and press freedom by retaining and strengthening existing media ownership regulations.

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 by the King County Labor Council, 19 February, 2003

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