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AFTRA Opposes Relaxation of Media Ownership
Rules in Public Comments to the FCC

WASHINGTON (October 23, 2006) – Declaring that it is “necessary and appropriate for the Federal Communications Commission to strengthen the remaining broadcast ownership rules in order to protect diversity and localism in the news and information available to the general public, to protect against anti-competitive business practices, and to prevent any further erosion of innovation in media programming,” the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists submitted its official comments with the FCC on the proposed relaxation of media ownership rules.

Thomas R. Carpenter, AFTRA National General Counsel and Director of Legislative Affairs, filed the comments on behalf of the more than 70,000 AFTRA members who work in the news and broadcast, entertainment, advertising, and sound recordings industries.

“AFTRA is unequivocally opposed to the elimination or relaxation of the remaining media ownership rules.” Carpenter said in the comments. “Each of these rules was created with a vision toward the future and a watchful eye on the past.

“The dissemination of fair and accurate information from diverse sources is a fundamental element in the foundation of our democracy. Our national identity has been formed by a rich cultural landscape of diverse art and entertainment, including broadcast entertainment. To deprive the public of diverse editorial perspectives in news, and varied music and entertainment programming in broadcasting is to deny the public access to critical tools to participate in our culture and our democracy.

“AFTRA members urge the FCC to safeguard the trust that the public has bestowed upon it.”

The comments to the FCC include numerous examples from AFTRA members on the effects of media consolidation. “AFTRA has a uniquely ‘inside’ view of the urgent need to maintain the remaining broadcast ownership rules because AFTRA represents those professionals who work in the newsrooms and on the programming that have been and will continue to be hurt by further media consolidation,” Carpenter said.

To read or download the comments submitted by AFTRA, go to www.aftra.com/mediaconsolidation/2006_fcc_filing.html.

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