Unions Applaud Appeals Court Decision Protecting Media Democracy, Diversity
Eleven national labor organizations representing more than half a million media workers called the appeals court decision that blocked the Federal Communications Commission's rules on media consolidation an important victory for the public and for diversity of opinion.
The court's decision reinforced the unions' long-held public position: that the FCC reached its rules last June in a rush to judgment driven by ideology and the industry's agenda, and without the serious debate and discussion necessary to protect the public interest.
In this important decision, the court determined that the FCC's rules simply are not workable and make for bad public policy. As the FCC reconsiders this entire issue, it is imperative that any hearing process include full access and participation by all citizens and by the people who do the work.
"We applaud the court's recognition that the FCC's decision to deregulate was flawed. But so was the process that got the agency there," said Paul Almeida, president of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO. "Media ownership deregulation would radically reshape local media markets throughout the nation as well as restrict the availability and diversity of news, information and entertainment that America's working families consume. Yet the agency steadfastly refused to talk to America through a process of field hearings to gauge public sentiment," he said.
John Connolly, president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, said, "today's court decision adds a legal weapon to the moral righteousness of our struggle against unfettered media consolidation. By allowing the reduction of outlets for diverse opinions and the concentration of power in fewer and fewer corporate hands, the FCC had created a model where the public suffers, democracy suffers and workers suffer. Finally, events appear to be converging to reverse that destructive trend."
"It is about time that someone restored sanity to the process of changing media ownership rules, rules that were designed to protect democracy. This is a victory for our members and for the American people," said John Clark, president of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA.
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