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United Church of Christ Office of Communication Inc. Monthly Newsletter

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Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. to Deliver 30th Annual Everett C. Parker Lecture

This year's Parker Lecture will take place in Washington, DC, on September 25, 2012 at 8 am.  UCC OC Inc. is thrilled to announce that the Rev. Jesse L.  Jackson Sr. will be giving the lecture.  This year we celebrate Everett Parker’s centennial birthday and the third successful decade of the lecture in his honor.  The lecture will occur in the newly-renovated First Congregational United Church of Christ in downtown Washington, DC.  More honoree announcements coming soon.  Sign up for tickets now!

Election Transparency Win Helps Our Faith, Our Vote and Civic Participation

Going back to UCC OC Inc.'s founding, we have focused on holding broadcasters accountable to the communities they serve.  We made more progress this June when the Federal Communications Commission ruled that information about political advertisements, including those placed by the new Super PACs, must be made available online.  These records, which are currently public but housed in filing cabinets at TV broadcast stations, should start to become available in time for the 2012 fall election season.    In April, leaders of OC Inc. and the UCC's Our Faith, Our Vote initiative celebrated this important victory.  In addition, UCC OC Inc. is collaborating with the Sunlight Foundation and Free Press with a pilot project in Wisconsin to ensure this information is available to everyone.  The Rev. Andrew Warner of Plymouth Church UCC  in Milwaukee preached a sermon asking Wisconsin residents to come together across partisan divides to support campaign advertising  disclosure and seeking volunteers to help with this endeavor.   Contact us if you live in Wisconsin and want to help.

Kids Can't Call Dads -- Stop Predatory Prison Phone Rates

Prisoners are isolated from their families and loved ones.  Families seeking to maintain contact are often saddled with exorbitant costs:  a typical long-distance collect call from prison costs a family almost a dollar a minute, and can lead to phone bills totalling hundreds of dollars per month.  In honor of Father's Day , UCC OC Inc., the UCC’s Justice and Peace Action Network, the United Methodists and the Center for Media Justice conducted a national day of action to call the FCC in support of reforming predatory phone rates and helping to keep  families  in touch with relatives who are in prison.  Heed Matthew 25's call to remember those in prison and sign up to join our campaign

Leading the Charge for Diverse, Accountable Media

In two separate filings in March, UCC OC Inc. called on the FCC to take steps to increase the ownership of broadcast outlets by women and persons of color.   Describing the current situation as "unacceptable," UCC OC Inc. and its allies castigated the FCC for proposing to adopt rules that were put forward by the Bush administration, rejected by the courts, and still insufficient, given the FCC's poor track record in gathering data about media ownership by women and persons of color.   In addition, UCC OC Inc. teamed with its civil rights allies in a second filing by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.  The conference, whose media and telecommunications task force OC Inc. co-chairs, criticized the FCC for its fatally flawed data collection.  The FCC is supposed to take final action on the rules later this year.

High-Speed Internet for Low-income People

UCC OC Inc. and its close allies at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights scored an important win in February.  The civil rights coalition made a number of requests to the FCC, in particular focusing on the importance of subsidizing high-speed Internet access for low-income people in the same way that the United States currently subsidizes regular telephone service.  Thanks to this advocacy, the FCC decided to scale back plans to cap the Lifeline Fund; instead the commission took steps designed to promote greater Internet access for everyone.  UCC OC Inc. is also working with Shaw Community Ministries in Washington DC to get broadband Internet access for the low-income housing residents it serves.

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

No Expletives-Supreme Court Rules FCC Can Protect Children

UCC OC Inc.'s policy advisor was pleased to hear about the Supreme Court's decision regarding the legality of the FCC’s efforts to fine broadcasters for programs that aired indecent language.  "While the Supreme Court today found that the FCC’s procedures were flawed," remarked Cheryl Leanza, OC Inc.’s  policy advisor, "it did not reverse course on the fundamental constitutional doctrine underpinning the regulations protecting children in the media."    This decision thus permits further action on some of the most important issues relating to children and media today--such as the relationship of the media marketplace to childhood obesity.  UCC OC Inc. filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court as part of the Children’s Media Policy Coalition.


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