HOYER, MENENDEZ CONTINUE FIGHT AGAINST RUSH TO CHANGE FCC RULES

Two House Democratic Leaders Meet with Industry, Consumer Groups

For Immediate Release:

May 22, 2003

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) and Rep. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, met today with numerous members of the media and entertainment industry and consumer interest groups who are opposed to the changes to media ownership rules expected to be made by the FCC on June 2.

“I hope that the American people will wake up to this serious issue before their local radio station will no longer play songs from their favorite artist or provide information important to their local communities regarding weather or other emergencies,” said Hoyer following the meeting.  “That is the situation that we could be facing if these rules allowing for further media consolidation are enforced. 

“When liberal and conservative groups, from the NRA to MoveOn.org, come together on the same side of an issue it is time to pay attention.  A recent count showed that out of over 9000 comments sent to the FCC there were 9300 against the new rules and 11 for the new rules.  We expect approximately 275,000 more comments in opposition to the ruling filed with the FCC. It is clear where those who are paying attention stand on this issue. 

“If the FCC flouts these clearly and loudly expressed concerns, Members of Congress, consumer interest groups, members of the media and entertainment industry, conservatives and liberals will continue to work together to fight the increased consolidation of power in the news and media industry which poses a serious threat to freedom of speech in this country,” concluded Hoyer.

“With corporate deals already in the works in anticipation of the June 2 ruling, we, again, call on FCC Chairman Powell to provide for an open process and more public review before a final decision is issued that will undermine diversity, competition and localism.  With local and children’s programming already disappearing throughout our communities, we are presented with a vision of what is yet to come.  It should leave a bitter taste in the mouths of all Americans, and, we, as a Congress, must keep a watchful eye on greater corporate dominance of the media.  This was clearly not Congress’ intent,” said House Democratic Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) following the meeting.

The groups participating included the Consumer’s Union, the Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America, Professional Employees Department of AFL-CIO, Future of Music Coalition, Center for the Creative Community, the Writers Guild Of America, Radio One, American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, and other members of the media and entertainment community.

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