ABC Cameraman Killed in Iraq
New York—ABC News cameraman Burhan Mohammed Mazhour was killed March 26 while covering a firefight between Marines and Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah. Mazhour, an Iraqi citizen born in 1969, had been working as an ABC freelancer for almost two months. He's the 24th journalist killed in Iraq since 2003. ABC News president David Westin said in a statement, "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family." The network asked military authorities to investigate the incident.
Comcast Refines Lobbying Effort
Washington—Comcast has tapped Issue Dynamics, a lobbying/PR firm run by former Naderite Sam Simon, to make friends with Common Cause, ChildrenNow, and other good-government types. Simon's first assignment was to build support for the MSO's bid to buy Disney among the public-interest community and track Web logs about the MSO.
Reps. Oppose Powell DTV Plan
Los Angeles—An FCC plan to accelerate the DTV transition would "force premature cessation of analog transmission" and deny broadcast digital services to cable viewers, three House members complained to agency Chairman Michael Powell last week. "This proposal would betray the long-held congressional goal of bringing the next generation of television to the American consumer," wrote Reps. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Lee Terry (R-Neb.).
Powell's staff is drafting a plan that would rapidly accelerate the date when broadcasters return analog channels to the government. By counting broadcast digital channels that have been converted to analog signals toward the DTV penetration test, FCC would be able to reclaim analog spectrum as early as 2007, rather than 2010 or later as most expected. Government rules require stations to give back analog channels when 85% of TV homes in the market have digital service.