United Church of Christ media justice ministry leads advocacy for diverse, accountable mediaSubmitted by Cheryl Tue Mar 06 2012 10:08:13 GMT-0500 (EST)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE---
March 6, 2012
Contact: Cheryl A. Leanza, Policy Advisor, cleanza AT alhmail.com, 202-904-2168
The United Church of Christ's media justice ministry, the Office of Communication, Inc., yesterday called on the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") to take steps to promote competition and accountability among broadcasters and to increase the ownership of broadcast outlets by women and persons of color.
- 9 (0.6 percent) are owned by African Americans,
- 10 (0.7 percent) by American Indians or Alaska Natives,
- 9 (0.6 percent) by Asian Americans,
- 1 by Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders, and
- 36 (2.6 percent) by Hispanics or Latinos, for a total of 65 (4.6 percent) minority-owned stations.
As part of its partnership with the Georgetown University Law Center's Institute of Public Representation, UCC OC Inc. joined with the National Organization for Women, Common Cause, and the Communications Workers for America, among others. The filing chastised the FCC for failing to consider previous UCC OC Inc. proposals, including those "designed to enhance station ownership opportunities for minorities and women." The group asked that the FCC stop permitting television stations to consolidate their newscasts, using so-called "shared services agreements." This practice means different television stations in the same market air the identical news stories, thus reducing employment for journalists and inhibiting a robust public debate. These comments also make detailed proposals to reduce media consolidation and improve ownership by women and people of color.
A second filing by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, whose media and telecommunications task force OC Inc.co-chairs, castigates the FCC for its fatally flawed data collection. Despite its own admission of errors and two directives by a U.S. Court of Appeals, the FCC has failed for 14 years to collect the necessary data to understand the problem and solution to immensely concentrated media ownership and its impact on media ownership women and people of color. The letter, signed by UCC OC Inc., the NAACP, the ACLU and other partners, outlines a tragedy of errors in which the agency recognizes the inadequacy of its record, but appears unable or unwilling to collect even the most basic data.
"The Commission’s failure in this regard has greatly affected its ability to create sound policy," concluded the filing.
The FCC is currently reevaluating its media ownership rules as part of its legally-mandated 2010 quadrennial review.
The United Church of Christ is a faith community rooted in justice that recognizes the unique power of the media to shape public understanding and thus society. The UCC’s Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.) works to create just and equitable media structures that give meaningful voice to diverse peoples, cultures and ideas. Established in 1959, OC Inc. ultimately established the right of all citizens to participate at the Federal Communications Commission as part of its efforts to ensure a television broadcaster in Jackson, MS served its African-American viewers during the civil rights movement. Learn more about our work at www.uccmediajustice.org.
The Cleveland-based United Church of Christ has 5,700 local congregations across the United States. It was formed by the 1957 union of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. www.ucc.org