22 January 2007

Congressman Calls for Media Reform

This is great news. No telling how far it will go, but for now it's good to see that media reform is on the radar of SOMEONE in Congress. In this case, it's New York's Maurice Hinchey, who has introduced MORA, The Media Ownership Reform Act, H.R. 3302.

MORA would restore the Fairness Doctrine, reinstate a national cap on ownership of radio stations, lower the number of radio stations that one company can own in a local market, and reinstate the 25 percent national cap on television ownership, among other restrictions. The bill’s no-grandfathering provision would compel media conglomerates to divest to comply with new ownership limitations.

MORA would also require public interest reports from broadcasters and require more independently produced programming on TV. In addition, it establishes new public interest obligations to assure that broadcasters meet the needs of local communities and requires increased, sustained public input and outreach to give the people a voice in programming.

Read more at Raw Story.

Hinchey introduced the bill last year but Republicans blocked it in committee. Now it has a chance. Congress also tried to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine twice in the 80s but it was vetoed both times, first by Reagan and then by Bush. Anyone see a hat trick coming?

Here's a good overview of the Fairness Doctrine.

And for what it's worth, here are the contacts for our overly corporate-friendly local members of Congress:

Steve Chabot
John Boehner
Jean Schmidt

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