Free Press Not Assuaged By MMTC Study Proposal - Broadcasting & Cable

Free Press Not Assuaged By MMTC Study Proposal

Tells FCC it is no substitute for independent analysis
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Free Press is not assuaged by the FCC's support of a proposed diversity
study by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council
that will look
at the advertising market and the impact of proposed FCC media ownership rules
changes on diversity.

The FCC, Newspaper Association of America and the National
Association of Broadcasters have all said they were OK with delaying a decision
on those rules for at least a couple more months until the study is completed
and vetted.

After MMTC proposed the study, which will take about eight
weeks,
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said,
"In this heavily-litigated area
where a strong record is particularly important, I believe this is a sensible
approach to moving forward and resolving the issues raised in this proceeding.
A senior official characterized the approach as "a strategy to move
towards a successful vote and strengthen the Commission's position in
court."

According to an FCC filing, in a phone conversation late
last week with an aide to FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Free Press policy
director Matt Wood said he had serious concerns that the study's ability to
provide the kind of analysis required by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
when it remanded FCC rules back to the commission for better justification of
proposed diversity efforts.

He also suggested that the study was far from an
independent analysis. "[W]e contend that a study endorsed by the broadcast
and newspaper lobbies, and carried out by an analyst who has on several
occasions expressed support for weakening the very rules he seeks now to
evaluate, cannot be substituted for independent research and agency
action."

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