FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced the upcoming hearing on localism with less than a week notice. Though there’s still time to speak up for local news and localism in media, this short notice shortchanges the public. Don’t take my word for it- here are two of the five FCC members stating their view:
JOINT STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONERS MICHAEL J. COPPS AND JONATHAN S. ADELSTEIN
IN RESPONSE TO FCC’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF LOCALISM HEARING WITH ONLY ONE WEEK’S
Tonight’s Public Notice doesn’t bode well for the future of the Commission’s localism and media ownership proceedings. Over two weeks ago, we agreed to clear our calendars for the possibility of a localism hearing in Washington on Oct 31st. But neither we nor the public received any confirmation that the hearing would occur until tonight just 5 business days before the event. This is unacceptable and unfair to the public. And it makes putting together an expert panel nearly impossible.
Is the Commission serious about allowing the public to participate in the agency’s decision- making? Or is the goal to be able to claim that hearings have been held, even if the public has not had a chance to fully participate?
Speaking of late notice, happy belated Happy Media Democracy Day, Canada! (Alternate title: why I’m not on a breaking news beat.)
What relates this content? Our surprising lack of awareness to media democracy issues. Media democracy activities were going on in Toronto while the Online News Association conference was being held there. The hearing in Washington D.C. is on local communities and their relationship to media and journalism. Also present is the related issue of the vast new giveaway of precious airwave spectrum made availalable by digital technology.
That’s all three of the points – community, journalism, and digital technology – that bind our projects for the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge together. Add that this hearing is an opportunity for civic engagement about, well, the future of civic engagement in democracy.
All this, and my first notice of the last public FCC hearing on localism – after the others around the country brought people out in large numbers in favor of local control and ownership of media – came from the open listserve which is the main organizatial existence of the Grassroots Radio Coalition!
Is it too much to ask that the future of media be covered in the media?