For Immediate Release
Contact: Steven Smith
Please see below a statement from Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, regarding the possibility of the Federal Communications Commission’s relaxation of media ownership rules.
Washington, DC (November 20, 2012) — Last week the FCC issued race and gender ownership statistics from data collected in 2009 and 2011. This is the first comprehensive summary the FCC has published in the fourteen years since it first began collecting this data. However, instead of considering this new information and the impact of its rules on minority ownership, press reports indicate that the Commission is planning to relax certain media ownership rules before the end of the year. This rush to judgment is troubling, because it is important that the FCC share its analysis and its justification for relaxing its ownership rules in light of this new data showing an alarmingly low level of ownership diversity.
For the last thirty years, we have witnessed unabashed media consolidation facilitated by the FCC. The effect has been a reduction of unique voices, a reduction in opportunities to participate in the American debate, and a loss of diverse ideas for the American people as well as a loss of business opportunities for women and people of color.
The data they released is the first comprehensive data released by the FCC on ownership by women and people of color. The Commission is now proposing to relax ownership rules based in part, on the availability of this data.
This data does not appear to support a finding that ownership diversity is strong. According to the report women own 6.8 percent of the nation’s television stations even as they comprise 51% of the US population. Latinos control 2.9 percent, African-Americans control .7 percent, Asian-Americans control .5 percent and American Indians control .9 percent.
For FM radio, the figures are also disappointing; women control 5.8 percent, Latinos control 2.7 percent, African Americans control 1.7 percent, Asian Americans control .8 percent and Native Americans .5 percent.
The Commission needs to prove that consolidation will not harm diversity of ownership.
It is contrary to basic logic that permitting a consolidated marketplace will benefit the largely small and independent owners of color. Consolidation is responsible for making an already bad situation even worse. We strongly oppose all changes to any media ownership rules, at least until, the Commission releases data and analysis that demonstrates clearly that these proposed changes will preserve and promote media ownership opportunities for women and people of color. The public needs time to analyze and understand what this data means and the Commission should seek comment on it.
Permitting additional concentration in a market where women and people of color are already hanging on by a thread is not the way to promote diversity of ownership.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition–Keeping Hope Alive
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit http://www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366.