Obama Statement on Committee Passage of the Media Ownership Act of 2007
U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement praising the Senate Commerce Committee's passage of the Media Ownership Act of 2007 (S.2332), which Obama has cosponsored. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), would ensure openness and accountability in FCC media ownership rules and launch an independent review panel to recommend strategies to increase the representation of women and minorities in media ownership.
In October, Senator Obama called on FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin to launch an independent review panel to develop proposals to further promote media ownership diversity. Obama and Senator John Kerry have previously written to Kevin Martin asking him to address the issue of minority media ownership, and the impact that new rules would have on opportunities for minority, small business, and women owned firms.
The text of the statement is below:
"The rules promoting the public interest and diversity in media ownership are too important to allow the FCC Chairman to force through an agenda supported by Washington lobbyists that favors corporate interests over the people's interests. I commend the Senate Commerce Committee for passing the Dorgan-Lott-Obama Media Ownership Act. The bill requires what I have been urging for more than a year - that the FCC place its public charge ahead of its concern for corporate profits.
"We must ensure that we have an open media market that represents all of the voices in our diverse nation, and allows them to be heard. One important way to do this is to expand the ownership stake of women-owned, minority-owned and small businesses in our media outlets. The more the rules let media outlets fall into the hands of big media conglomerates, the less likely our leaders are to be responsive to the public's needs and in particular, the needs of minority communities. The FCC needs to meet its obligations to diverse communities and ensure that broadcasters are doing right by the communities they operate in before it considers loosening any media ownership regulations.
"Congress cannot continue to allow the FCC to move forward with regulatory changes through leaks to the press and closed door meetings. This legislation will ensure that any changes to FCC rules will be done through a fully transparent and inclusive process, fully taking into account the interests of our minority communities. I thank my colleagues for their leadership on this issue."