Free Press Counters NAB's Request for Speaker ID's at FCC Hearing

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Activist group Free Press has taken issue with a National Association of Broadcasters request that the FCC should require commenters at its public hearing on Friday, Februay 23 to identify where they were lived. In the end, the FCC did not require speakers to identify themselves geographically.

NAB said it wanted to make sure the input on local stations came from local people but Free Press, which opposes further media consolidation, saw it as an attempt to "crack down on members of the public who stray from their Designated Market Areas to testify before the agency."

Citing an article in B&C about the letter NAB President David Rehr sent to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin asking for the commenters to give a local ID, Free Press said NAB acted inappropriately.

"For decades, everyday people have been shut out of the decisions made by the FCC about the public airwaves -- and that's exactly how groups like the NAB would like to keep it," said Communications Director Craig Aaron in a statement. "Industry representatives and coin-operated experts are paid to attend these events. Instead of trying to intimidate concerned citizens with ID checks, the FCC needs to give the public more than a few days' notice about these hearings and hold them at a time when people can actually participate. We need more public involvement in these crucial issues, not less."

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