RELEASE: NHMC, Common Cause, and UCC, OC Inc. File Petition to Deny Sinclair-Tribune Merger

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 21, 2018

CONTACT: Alison Sotomayor communications@nhmc.org

NHMC, Common Cause, and UCC, OC Inc. File Petition to Deny Sinclair-Tribune Merger

On June 20, 2018, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), Common Cause, and the United Church of Christ, OC Inc., filed a Petition to Deny the Sinclair-Tribune Merger before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). “NHMC joined its allies in calling for the denial of Sinclair’s dangerous merger with Tribune. This unprecedented merger threatens the viewpoint diversity that is so critical to ensuring that the Latino community is fairly and accurately represented by the media,” said Carmen Scurato vice president, policy and general counsel at the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “Local broadcasters play a vital role in reflecting the needs of their communities, but Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune would eradicate localism through its must-run segments and nationalization of news. Additionally, Sinclair’s divestiture plan is all smoke and mirrors, as Sinclair would de facto still own or retain a dominant role in the supposed divested stations. The FCC must do the right thing and deny this merger.” “The Sinclair-Tribune merger is riddled with public interest harms that would negatively impact localism, diversity, and competition. Local broadcasting is an essential source of news and information for a nation of diverse and distinct communities,” said Yosef Getachew, director of media and democracy program at Common Cause. “Unfortunately, Sinclair seeks to eliminate local news coverage, and replace it with centralized editorial content disguised with the voices of trusted local broadcasters in our communities. The merger will only further Sinclair’s goals of becoming a national network at the expense of local programming and diverse viewpoints. The Commission must also reject Sinclair’s sham divestiture plan, which includes sweetheart deals, buy back options, and revenue sharing agreements all in an effort to maintain control over stations it claims its selling. Sinclair has offered no evidence to show its merger is in the public interest.” “The United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry, OC Inc., is proud to join the petition to deny prepared by the National Hispanic Media Coalition and Common Cause. Approval of the Sinclair merger is not possible without violating Congressionally-set media ownership limits,” said Cheryl Leanza, policy advisor for the United Church of Christ, OC Inc. “Such a merger will trigger a series of additional mergers and will reduce the number of independent voices in local media and reduce the likelihood that women and people of color could ever own a meaningful number of local television stations. Our church members count on local media to advocate for justice and follow local issues, we need more independent owners and less consolidation.” Common Cause and UCC, OC Inc. filed an original Petition to Deny the Sinclair-Tribune Merger on August 7, 2017 along with Public Knowledge. NHMC, Common Cause, and UCC, OC Inc. are also parties to the lawsuit challenging the FCC’s repeal of the UHF discount. For further information on how the Sinclair-Tribune merger would impact people of color who disproportionately rely on broadcast media, click here. For interviews, please contact Alison Sotomayor at communications@nhmc.org.

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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.

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