Watchdogs Protest Exclusion From FCC DTV Transition Campaign

Oct 1, 2004  •  Post A Comment

A coalition of watchdog groups is protesting a Federal Communications Commission plan to launch a joint government/industry campaign in Washington on Monday to publicize the digital TV transition-without the participation of watchdog group representatives. “A public education campaign that fails to include the public perspective and the public interest is a charade,” said the group, whose members include the Alliance for Better Campaigns, Common Cause and the Center for Digital Democracy, in a Sept. 30 letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell. In response, a spokesman for Mr. Powell said, “How is complaining about a public education campaign in the public interest?” Among the industry officials slated to join Mr. Powell for the official campaign launch inside the agency’s headquarters in Washington are Andy Setos, president of engineering, Fox Entertainment Group; Jeff Smulyan, chairman and CEO, Emmis Communications; and Robert Sachs, president and CEO, National Cable & Telecommunications Association. The watchdog groups said they will be setting up a table outside the agency’s headquarters building to “focus attention on the FCC’s continuing failure to address the need for specific, quantifiable public interest obligations for broadcasters.”