ACLU Wants Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule Reversed

April 2, 2008 12:00 am

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Washington, DC — In a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Vice Chairman Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), the American Civil Liberties Union urged support of a resolution (S. J. Res 28) disapproving of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on broadcast media cross-ownership.

The following can be attributed to ACLU Chief Legislative & Policy Counsel Michael Macleod-Ball:

“Media consolidation comes at the expense of First Amendment dialogue. Consolidation means fewer, less diverse voices of opinion on our public airwaves. Ultimately, ever-increasing consolidation will lead to a less informed citizenry relying on a more and more homogenous news and entertainment universe.

“The mass media provides the information Americans need to fully participate in our democratic society. By endorsing greater concentration and cross-ownership of media, the new rule has the potential to diminish Americans’ access to a wide range of news, information, programming and political commentary dramatically.

“The consolidation of TV, radio and newspaper ownership that has occurred under pre-December rules already limits the scope of the marketplace of ideas and hinders vigorous public debate, thereby posing a great threat to the First Amendment rights of all Americans.

“An informed citizenry is the backbone of any democracy. When all the media voices speak as one, the citizenry is deprived of alternative viewpoints. While the Senate resolution is not a magic bullet and will only return us to the pre-December rules, it at least attempts to prevent further consolidation, further erosion of ownership diversity, and further diminution of opinion. The ACLU thanks Senator Dorgan and his bipartisan group of Senate co-sponsors for their leadership in restoring reasonable limits on media cross-ownership.”

Link to a copy of the ACLU letter to the Senate Commerce Committee:

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