Features

Full Sail for License-free Broadcasting

Summary:

Shiver me timbers! August has been an eventful month for pirate broadcasting from
coast to coast. After being paid a threatening visit by the FCC last month, San Francisco Liberation Radio decided to argue for their right to broadcast rather than simply go off the air. This month, the station got an unprecedented vote of confidence in the form of a resolution of
support
passed by the San Francisco city government. While it carries no legal clout, the resolution stands as a powerful confirmation of the civic importance of community-based radio - with or without a license.

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Canadian Government Study Blasts Cross-Ownership

Summary:

A Canadian parliamentary committee has concluded, after two and a half years? study, that rampant media consolidation and newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership require drastic corrective measures. The committee's report, Our Cultural Sovereignty, recommends both an immediate freeze on Canadian media concentration and remedial regulation possibly including the breakup of existing cross-media networks such as CanWest Global. According to the report, new federal legislation is needed to "protect the integrity of editorial independence and journalistic freedom."

In the US Congress, attempts to roll back parts of the FCC's June 2 decision have primarily focused on the national TV ownership cap. Attempts to restore the (arguably more important) cross-ownership ban have failed as amendments. The Canadian study, however, may have the potential to reignite this regulatory issue in the US as well, as it presents a vision of the future for the path Michael Powell's FCC has laid out for the American media landscape.

[ Canadian Deregulation Provides Insight Into FCC Proposal ]

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Study Reveals NAB and NPR Lied to Congress

The five-year policy battle over low-power community radio (LPFM) took an interesting turn this week, with the long-delayed release of a Congressionally-mandated study on LPFM interference. The study, ordered as part of the industry-supported Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 2000, is a powerful refutation of claims by the National Association of Broadcasters and National Public Radio, who had argued that low-power FM signals would interfere with higher-power comercial signals on adjacent frequencies. The study, completed months ago, was released this week only after a Freedom of Information Act request and subsequent complaints from LPFM advocates.

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Citizens Group Fights to Keep Seattle a Two-Newspaper Town

Summary:

The newly-formed Committee for a Two-Newspaper Town, has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit between the owners of Seattle's two daily newspapers. The group, a coalition of community, political and labor leaders and activists, hopes to protect the Joint Operating Agreement which has kept both papers in print for the past twenty years.

In April, the Hearst Corporation (owners of the Post-Intelligencer) filed suit to prevent the Times from dissolving the JOA and shuttering the P-I. The Times countered April 29 by saying it had lost money for three years and needed to close the P-I to return to profitability. The new Committee's intervention takes aim at a provision of the JOA that would pay Hearst 32 percent of the Times' profits for 80 years if it closes the P-I. The group contends that this provision may be an illegal restraint of trade. The group also argues that the Times has breached the JOA contract by asserting it has had three years' worth of losses. Finally, by intervening in the suit, the Committee guarantees itself a seat at the table for any discussions of a settlement between Hearst and the Times.

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Community Media and Social Change: Media Activism at the ACM

Summary:

On July 9-12, the Alliance for Community Media will hold its annual conference in Tacoma. It's a great opportunity for Northwest community video producers to meet colleagues from across the country, and to attend seminars and workshops on production techniques, media literacy, funding challenges and public policy related to community media.

This year's conference features a special Community Media and Social Change track, in which grassroots producers, media activists and educators can consider their role in the media democracy movement and other social justice struggles. Topics include youth media production, media ownership reform and cable franchise negotiation challenges. Presenters represent a broad range of media and activist groups: Colors Northwest, Hate Free Zone, the Independent Media Center, KBCS, Media Tank, Reclaim the Media and Third World Majority, among others.

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Multiple Congressional Battles to Reverse the FCC

Summary:

As expected, on June 2 the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 with Michael Powell to relax media ownership rules--favoring corporate monopolies at the expense of locally accountable programming, diverse viewpoints and competition. Thanks to the organizing, letter-writing and public testimony of hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans, the Powell decision did not go unnoticed. In fact, it instantly became the most unpopular decision in the history of the FCC. Many in the US Congress are already pursuing steps to reverse parts of the decision; this is a good start. On June 19, the Senate Commerce Committee is expected to vote on a bill restoring the 35% national TV ownership cap. Perhaps more importantly, the bill may be amended also to restore the broadcast/newspaper cross ownership ban.

This bill may or may not pass the Senate and the House, where an identical bill has also been introduced. In either event, it is only the beginning in what will be a long-term Congressional battle to reform federal media policy on our terms. It is very important that we let all of our Senators and Congressmen hear from us starting now. Our message for now is simple: Reverse the Powell Decision and Stop Media Monopolies! Click here to send that message right now.

[ Hollings-Stevens (Senate) and Burr-Dingell (House) bills ]
[ Reclaiming the Public Airwaves Act (House) ]
[ McCain on reauthorization bill ]
[ Dorgan on legislative veto ]
[ June 2 reactions: RTM | FMC | Free Press | Copps ]

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Corporate Power at the FCC

Summary:

When the Federal Communications Commission decides on June 2 whether to dramatically loosen restrictions on media ownership, it will be relying largely on analyses based on proprietary databases not freely available to the public. Why is the Bush Administration's FCC so determined to keep key data from the public? This question is explored by one of several new studies from the Center for Public Integrity, probing the depths of corporate power's influence over FCC perceptions, metrics and decisionmaking. The Center has also created a new online database tracking ownership of broadcast stations nationwide.

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June 2: Decisive Date in Media Ownership Battle

Summary:

On June 2, the FCC plans to vote on whether to "relax" the rules for owning American news media. Despite unprecedented public opposition to additional deregulation, as well as bipartisan Congressional pressure for greater transparency, FCC chair Michael Powell has refused to reveal the specifics of his proposed changes until after the vote.

If the Commission decides to allow further media concentration, the resulting stampede of mergers would give a shrinking handful of large corporations much greater influence over what is reported--or ignored--in the news. The general public?s ability to have open, informed discussion with a wide variety of viewpoints would be compromised.

A healthy democracy is best served by a diverse marketplace of ideas. Tell Congress and the FCC to preserve current media ownership rules for the sake of competition and diversity.

[ Free Press ]
[ Media Access Project ]

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Weapons of Mass Distraction, May 31

Summary:

Join us for the first of a series of forums bringing together Seattle-area artists and activists to create media awareness and to help navigate the maze of propaganda and trivia which dominates the corporate media landscape.

Hosted by Lauren Weedman; MUSIC by Jim Page, Otha Major, Lee Rude, Dub Weapon and Tableland; PERFORMANCES by Degenerate Art Ensemble, Infernal Noise Brigade and Performance As Narcotic; PRESENTATIONS by Kristen Walsh (KBCS), Daniel Hannah (Independent Media Center), Jonathan Lawson (Reclaim the Media) and Anne Elizabeth Moore (writer); POETRY by Arnie Pihil, Rob Zverina, Percy Hilo, Jim Jordan and others in the WMD Spoken Word Lounge; ART by Diana Falchuk, Joshua Brown, Adria Garcia, Jessica X, Micahel Kacena, Steve Anderson, Sara Kavage and others.

Get active in the media democracy movement, support local independent media and make your own media! Call 206-850-1442 to get involved.

[ Weapons of Mass Distraction ]

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Chomsky on Power, Terror and the Media

Summary:

"Everyone's worried about stopping terrorism," says dissident intellectual Noam Chomsky in a new film directed by John Junkerman. "Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it." Power and Terror, which documents
Chomsky?s analysis of post-9/11 US foreign policy, receives its Seattle
premiere this month: Friday - Sunday, March 21- 23 and Tuesday - Sunday, March 25 - 30, 7 and 9pm, at Seattle's Little Theater (19th and Mercer).

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