WGA West, SAG Back Media-Ownership Act of 2007

Guilds Come Out in Joint Support of New Bill

The Writers Guild of America West and the Screen Actors Guild Thursday jointly came out in support of the new Media Ownership Act of 2007.

The bill, introduced Thursday, would prevent the Federal Communications Commission from voting on any new media-ownership rules until sometime in 2008 and open a separate proceeding on broadcast localism.

It would require the FCC to have a 90-day comment period on any proposed media-ownership rule changes and to conduct a separate proceeding on localism and diversity with another 90-day comment period.

“We feel that it is vital that the public be allowed ample opportunity to comment on media-ownership decisions, a key issue of concern to members of the creative community and consumers,” the two guilds said in a joint statement.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) introduced the bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

“We applaud Sen. Dorgan’s comments on media-ownership rulings that the bill recognizes the importance of a wide range of media owners and local content and requires a process that does not rush past those concerns to open the gates for even more consolidation of media ownership,” the statement continued. The WGAW and SAG urge Congress to act on this bill, and we are hopeful that further media consolidation will be reviewed thoroughly to protect creative and independent content, as well as consumers.”

John Eggerton contributed to this report.