LOS ANGELES, CA, June 18, 2006—As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intends to establish a timeline for review of media ownership rules at its June 21 meeting, members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) are sending messages to urge the commissioners to provide for a timeline that will allow for meaningful public discourse on any re-write of media ownership regulations.
Thomas R. Carpenter, AFTRA National Director of Legislative Affairs, explained: "In 2003, the Federal Communications Commission attempted a sweeping re-write of regulations governing media ownership, which, had it prevailed, would have resulted in alarming consolidation of media ownership. The 2003 review of media ownership rules occurred with no advance notice of what the Commission's intention was, and little opportunity for public comment.
"In spite of the FCC's attempt to push through an agenda of 'increased media consolidation', the public outcry was overwhelming. Americans sent millions of messages to the FCC, demanding sensible media ownership guidelines.
"But the FCC didn't listen.
"When the FCC tried to issue rules that would effectively eliminate any meaningful media ownership rules, Congress and the courts intervened. The 2003 consolidation juggernaut was stopped briefly, but now, the FCC is once again preparing to gut its ownership regulations.
"On June 21, the FCC commissioners will vote to establish a procedure for a review of media ownership regulations.
"AFTRA members are contacting the FCC to let them know that the public needs to be heard before any new ownership rules are enacted."
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists—affiliated with the AFL-CIO— is a diverse national union representing more than 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters and recording artists in 32 Locals throughout the country. AFTRA members work as actors, broadcast journalists, dancers, singers, announcers, hosts, comedians and disc jockeys in all aspects of the media industries including television and radio, sound recordings, commercials, industrial non-broadcast, interactive games and the Internet. For more information, visit www.aftra.com.