FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2017
FCC Hampers Diversity in Broadcast Ownership with Today’s Vote, Says National Hispanic Media Coalition
FCC Reinstates Outdated Rule on Ownership Cap and Eliminates Broadcast Requirement to File Ownership Reports with Race and Gender Data
Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to reinstate the UHF discount, allowing further media consolidation, and eliminate the requirement for noncommercial broadcasters to file reports about media ownership without race and gender data.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition released the following statement from Carmen Scurato, director of policy and legal affairs:
“Once upon a time, counting a UHF signal to a lesser effect against the media ownership cap made sense because it was technically inferior with more limited reach. Today, given the digital television transformation, that is no longer the case and the reasoning behind the FCC’s vote today on the outdated ‘UHF discount’ no longer exists. The FCC’s decision to reinstate the discount will cause irreversible harm to diverse owners of small to mid-sized companies trying to access their audience in a crowded field of giant corporations dominating the airwaves.
“Fewer than 10 percent of broadcast licenses are held by people of color at a time when over a third of Americans are people of color. That doesn’t happen by accident, that happens when policy makers bend the rules for media conglomerates to continue to amass greater power over what we see and hear. Our last resort is accountability and the FCC today has again chipped away at broadcast requirements that would give the public any glimpse at why platforms owned by women and people of color are disappearing. The FCC must find more ways for the public to access timely data and analysis on media diversity with a meaningful opportunity to weigh in on these distressing changes.”
In a petition before the FCC, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Free Press and Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Public Representation find that reinstating the UHF discount would thwart the FCC’s longstanding goals of competition, diversity, and localism in the broadcast TV market by allowing a single owner to control stations reaching viewers far in excess of the cap that Congress last directed the Commission to set. Read the petition in full here: http://bit.ly/2oPMEIV.
The elimination of diversity data requirements were opposed in a letter to commissioners by the National Hispanic Media Coalition, United Church of Christ, OC, Inc., Free Press, Common Cause and other organizations. View the letter in full here: http://bit.ly/2osJ7hH.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. Receive real-time updates on Facebook, Twitter @NHMC and Instagram @NHMC_org.