"Big media" will be the focus of a public hearing with two Federal Communications Commissioners from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave. in the Microsoft Auditorium.
Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein will listen to local concerns about media consolidation as they take testimony on a proposal to revise the commission's media ownership rules. The rules currently limit the number of newspapers, television and radio stations a single company can own or control.
The commission leadership is proposing loosening limits on how many television stations a single company can own and allowing one company to own a combination of broadcast outlets and major daily newspapers in the same market.
Allowing cross-ownership would allow TV newspaper combinations in virtually every city in America.
The hearing, the only one of its kind scheduled in the Northwest, will present Washington residents with a rare opportunity to engage federal policymakers directly on an issue of national importance: how the media works to serve democracy and creative culture.
Newspaper broadcast cross-ownership, largely prohibited by current regulations, would pose a significant threat to media diversity in Seattle and other Washington media markets, according to a study recently released by Reclaim the Media in association with the national Media and Democracy Coalition. The study is available online at www.reclaimthemedia.org.
A Seattle-based nonprofit organization, Reclaim the Media attempts to expand the communications rights of ordinary people through grassroots organizing, education, networking and advocacy. The organization's goals are to change media policy at the local and federal level to favor the public interest; to teach media literacy so people understand how news is shaped by journalistic habits and by powerful commercial and political interests; and to support community media instead of consolidated media.
Cross-ownership of media can hurt the community when other viewpoints are stifled, when local communities aren't served and diversity is ignored. If advertisers' target audiences don't include people of color, rural residents or the working class, issues important to those audiences may be ignored.
Visit www.reclaimthemedia.org and click on Stop Big Media for more information.
For more information on the FCC, visit www.fcc.gov.