Washington

NAACP, Others Say They Don't Support FCC Loosening Cross-Ownership

'Clarify' to commission that support would only come with showing of no harm to diversity, a showing they say commission has not made 12/06/2012 07:11:28 PM Eastern

Minority advocates have told the FCC that,
despite reports to the contrary, they do not support loosening the
newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule (NBCO) without evidence it will not
negatively impact diversity.

In
a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski on Thursday, Dec. 6, the National
Urban League (NUL), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Asian American Justice
Center (AAJC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP) said they were writing to clarify their position.

While
in a filing to the FCC on media ownership the groups did say they would not
object to relaxing the rule, they wrote this week; they only did so with the
explicit caveat that "if such a relaxation would not diminish minority
ownership."

 They
say they say any implication that their support does not require that evidence,
which they say the FCC has not provided, is not correct.
 

"The
Commission should not move ahead with any changes to the NBCO until a credible,
objective and data-based analysis of the impact of such changes is completed.
We do not believe that that analysis has been completed."

FCC chairman Genachowski has proposed loosening the rule, which retaining
local ownership caps and even strengthening them. He has pointed out that the
FCC has collected comment from the public and did take diversity into account
by way of the 323 ownership survey released Nov. 14. In addition, he has
extended the comment period on that survey by 30 days.

But
the groups said that was insufficient time to analyze and comment on the report
and on whether relaxation of the NBCO will diminish minority ownership.

It
has been a year since the FCC under Genachowski signaled it planned to loosen
the NBCO ban, and five years since the FCC under then-chairman Kevin Martin
voted to do so.

The
FCC has yet to complete court-ordered review of separate diversity initiatives
voted at the same time as Kevin Martin's attempt to loosen the NBCO. There are
reports that lack of funding is one issue with their tardiness. "We are
extremely disappointed by the Commission's failure to undertake the required
analysis to create a set of rules that advance minority ownership," they
wrote. "At a minimum, this requires the Commission setting aside necessary
funding to undertake the analysis needed to create these solutions."

The
chairman reportedly is separating the two issues, trying to loosen the NBCO per
the FCC's quadrennial regulatory review and the Third circuit's remand of the
rules while dealing with the separate diversity initiatives and the studies on
how to better justify them in a separate item.

His
critics are arguing the two cannot be separated.

Copies
of the letter were sent to leadership of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee and Senate Commerce Committee, both of which have oversight of the
FCC.

September
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