Kerry on Commerce Committee Passage of Legislation to Promote Fair, Diverse Media
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), welcomed the Commerce Committee's passage of legislation he co-sponsored which would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from hastily imposing new media-ownership rules. A few weeks ago, Kerry and other members of the Commerce Committee were informed that FCC chairman Kevin Martin was trying to hold a vote on new media-ownership rules this month. A vote called too soon would advantage large corporate media entities and be likely to further media consolidation.
"Today we made it clear to the FCC that putting corporate consolidation ahead of local and minority-owned outlets is wrong, and it will not be tolerated. Limiting consumer choice hurts the free exchange of ideas, and threatens America's most original, thoughtful programming. I will fight hard with Senator Dorgan my other colleagues to get this bill passed by the full Senate."
Kerry introduced a bill in November that would require the FCC to have a 90-day comment period on any proposed media-ownership rule changes and to conduct a separate proceeding on localism with another 90-day comment period. The bill also requires the FCC to convene an independent panel to make recommendations regarding specific rules to increase women and minority ownership of broadcast media. The FCC would be required to act on the panel's recommendations prior to voting on changes to broadcast ownership regulations. The bill was sponsored by Senator Dorgan, and cosponsored by Senators Lott, Obama, Feinstein, Cantwell and Snowe.