Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 11:16am
FCC VOTES FOR MONOPOLY, CONGRESS MUST VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY
[SOURCE: The Nation, AUTHOR: John Nichols]
[Commentary] The Federal Communications Commission has, as expected, voted along party lines to approve the demand of Rupert Murdoch and other communications-industry moguls for a loosening of limits on media monopolies in American cities. Now, the real fight begins. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's move goes against every signal the FCC has gotten from Congress, which is responsible for establishing regulations regarding the ownership of the public's airwaves. A response must come from Congress. Before the vote, 26 members of the Senate notified the commission that they would "immediately move legislation that will revoke and nullify the proposed rule." But they will need the full and aggressive support of Democratic leaders in the Senate and House to push back with the force necessary to counter an expected veto by President Bush. This is one fight where citizen action will matter. Key Republicans such as Stevens and Mississippi's Trent Lott, the party's number two man in the Senate, are in complete support of the move to overturn the FCC vote. It is possible to build a broad coalition. But there can be no wavering by the Democrats on this front. Indeed, they must make this a national issue. And the way to do that is by talking it up where it cannot be ignored. All four Democratic senators who are seeking the presidency signed the letter pledging to revoke and nullify the FCC decision. Now, New York's Hillary Clinton, Illinois' Barack Obama, Connecticut's Chris Dodd and Delaware's Joe Biden need to put the issue of media monopoly front and center in Iowa and New Hampshire. If they are not talking about the fundamental threat to diversity of media ownership in American communities and the country as a whole, they will be failing to use the most powerful bully pulpit in the fight against the monopoly on communication that represents the single greatest threat to the battered democratic discourse of a country where the public's right to know cannot take this hit and survive.
* Let's See If the FCC Is Serious About Stopping the Next Media Consolidation
[SOURCE: Public Knowledge, AUTHOR: Art Brodsky]
[Commentary] If the Republican majority of the Federal Communications Commission are sincere in their view that the Internet has come a long way in bringing a diversity of views and news that has since overtaken the old media, then they must make sure the Internet functions as it should -- in the free, non-discriminatory and unencumbered environment it has until now. The last thing this country needs after the FCC allows the traditional media to consolidate is for the Commission to let the telephone and cable companies exercise proprietary control over the Internet, whether stopping or restricting certain Internet applications (like BitTorrent) from being used or functioning as copyright cops for Hollywood, as AT&T wants to do. That said, we look forward to the Commission acting on petitions to protect the Internet from those who would control it, and to the Commission coming up with rules to make sure that the promise that the majority saw yesterday will continue tomorrow.
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