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Minority Group Presses Media Agenda

Jan 21, 2009  •  Post A Comment

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council is unveiling its wish list for 2009, calling for a stimulus package to make broadband Web access more available and tax credits that could make it easier for minority-owned firms to buy stations. The group also is seeking law changes to allow foreign companies to invest more in American broadcasters.
President Barack Obama has already suggested making money available to extend broadband to unreached and underserved communities as part of his economic stimulus plan.
In a letter today to the new President, the group and the National Urban League said that to ensure jobs are created where they are needed most, the stimulus should be directed to areas that need help the most help—not just rural areas.
“The top priority should be delivering first class service to broadband-deprived low income, minority and Multilanguage urban and rural communities,” the group said in a letter to the Obama administration. The letter also urged the use of minority contractors for some of the work expanding broadband access.
In a Capitol Hill briefing today the group suggested that there should be a government definition of small business that takes note of race and not just business size.
The group also said it intends to ask the FCC to launch a formal rulemaking proceeding examining rules to implement some of the policy recommendations on diversity raised by the FCC’s diversity committee.
The group also said that the Communications Act rules on licensing of stations are illogical. The FCC still allocates licenses based to cities, with the idea being that a local broadcaster would do a better job of providing local service.
In fact, because the FCC doesn’t address programming requirements, the current licensing makes it impossible to move stations to major cities, the group said. It also said that the current ban on foreign companies owning more than 25% of a licensee is outdated, considering foreign investment in cable and other telecom facilities.
(Editor: Baumann)

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