Washington State pushes ahead to reverse FCC decision

“This legislation changes technical provisions but is simple in its message and effects,” said Reichert. “We want local media to remain local, diverse and free. I’m pleased to join with Jay Inslee to counter the damage that this ruling could bring. I’m not only disappointed in their ruling today, but also the process in which it came about. Last month when the FCC held one of the rushed public hearings in Seattle, I spoke out, calling for retention of the current rules. Relaxing restrictions does not serve our citizens, and would lead to the detriment of localism and diversity that we still enjoy. We’re taking swift action to hopefully prevent these changes from affecting our communities and the families at home. I respect the free market and want a marketplace that allows corporations to operate as freely as possible. However, I believe it is a role of government to stand between corporations and consumers when the public interest is at stake. I will continue to do what I can to maintain a diverse, free and unbiased source of news for my constituents and across this nation.”

Specifically, the legislation would:
• Require the FCC to publish any proposed revisions to its media ownership rules at least 90 days prior to a vote.
• Require at least 60 days for public comment and the FCC must respond to these comments within 30 days.
• Require the FCC to complete a separate proceeding to evaluate the effects of consolidation on broadcast localism before any vote.
• Require the establishment of an independent panel on female and minority ownership. The panel would provide data and offer recommendations to the FCC on how to increase female and minority ownership. The FCC must receive and act on these recommendations prior to voting on any proposed ownership rules.
• The bill applies to any attempt to alter rules made by the FCC after October 1, 2007.

article originally published at http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/wa08_reichert/inslee.shtml.

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