Originally published: June 15, 2011
Last updated: June 15, 2011 - 10:43pm
Speaking at the New America Foundation's "Conversation On the Future of the Media," Federal Communications Commission member Michael Copps said that the FCC's recently-released "The Information Needs of Communities" revealed cracks and chasms running through the landscape by documenting, in particular, shortfalls in the production of local accountability journalism. The question before us now, he said, is "what do we do about it?"
One school of thought on the role of government says let's leave this important task up to the free market and deregulate entities that serve this purpose. The second school maintains that there is a role for government in general and the Federal Communications Commission in particular: that role is to ensure that the public’s spectrum is put to the public purpose of informing democracy’s dialogue. Under this theory, a license to broadcast is a privilege, not a God-given right, and the privilege of keeping that license depends upon the caliber of trusteeship a station delivers. He outlined measures he believes the FCC can and should take:
- adopting real public interest obligations for broadcasters,
- complete the FCC's localism proceeding,
- finalize disclosure rules,
- adopt recommendations of the FCC's Diversity Advisory Committee, and
- hold public hearings around the country encouraging the American people to say what they think about the news and information they are receiving
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