FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 14, 2017
NHMC Files Application for Review Requesting Additional Documents Owed Under the FCC’s FOIA Obligations in the Net Neutrality Proceeding
Today, the National Hispanic Media Coalition filed an Application for Review (AFR) to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC), Office of the General Counsel (OGC) seeking review of the letter dated September 14, 2017 stating that the FCC was producing its “final production of documents” in response to NHMC’s FOIA requests filed in early May 2017. Subsequent to the final production, NHMC spoke with the office of Chairman Pai, as well as with the offices of Commissioners Clyburn, O’Rielly, Carr, and Rosenworcel regarding the missing documents and the importance of this evidence to the current Net Neutrality proceeding. In addition, NHMC met with Wireline Competition Bureau and OGC to again highlight their concerns over the FCC’s failure to produce the missing documents, and the importance of the FCC incorporating the documents which had been produced into the record.
Carmen Scurato, director of policy and legal affairs at the National Hispanic Media Coalition said:
“NHMC made repeated attempts to flag these missing documents for the FCC prior to and after the final production in September. Unfortunately NHMC’s concerns were not addressed and at times ignored. The documents requested through the FOIA remain critical evidence in the Net Neutrality proceeding. The FCC’s failure to provide the complete set of documents owed is a clear violation of its obligations under the FOIA. It also illustrates the FCC’s continued refusal to acknowledge the importance and relevance of over 55,000 consumer complaints and 18,000 carrier responses to the Net Neutrality proceeding. The FCC’s stubborn stance may well violate the Administrative Procedure Act requirements and fatally impact the validity of any FCC final Order that eliminates the Net Neutrality rules.”
In the AFR NHMC outlines the documents that the FCC failed to produce:
- 18,000 carrier responses outlining the resolution of the consumer complaints. NHMC only received 823 pages of carrier responses.
- Attachments to all consumer complaints. When filing a complaint at the FCC consumers have an option to upload supporting documents. NHMC specifically requested these attachments, but they were not included in the FCC’s productions.
- Rebuttals to carrier responses. When consumers receive a response from the carrier, they have the option of filing a rebuttal and keeping the complain open. NHMC asked for the resolution of each consumer complaint, including all rebuttals, which a part of that resolution process.
- Complaint resolution data. In the ten excel spreadsheets, the FCC included a column titled “Resolution” which was completely blank. NHMC is requesting the data tracked by the FCC in that resolution column.
- Ombudsperson emails after January 2017. The last FCC ombudsperson stepped down in January 2017, yet the FCC continued to receive and respond to emails that were sent to the email@example.com email address. NHMC is missing emails received to that email address and any responses, guidance, or resolutions provided to consumers since the ombudsperson position has remained vacant.
- Attachments to ombudsperson emails missing from the FCC’s production.
- Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau documents, information or communications, or guidance used by CGB to resolve Internet complaints received by either phone or online. The Commission has not produced the requested documents, nor has it indicated whether these documents exist, or whether they are being withheld under a FOIA exemption.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is the media watchdog for the Latino community, ensuring that we are fairly and consistently represented in news and entertainment and that our voices are heard over the airwaves and on the internet.
We exist to challenge executives and influencers throughout the entertainment and news industry to eliminate barriers for Latinos to express themselves and be heard through every type of medium. NHMC works to bring decision-makers to the table to open new opportunities for Latinos to create, contribute and consume programming that is inclusive, free from bias and hate rhetoric, affordable and culturally relevant.