WGAE Blasts FCC’s Proposed Ownership Rules
NEW YORK, NY (February 11, 2019)—As the Federal Communications Commission’s Quadrennial Regulatory Review looks to weaken broadcast ownership rules, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) is arguing that broadcast networks have reoriented themselves to a new on-demand marketplace without any need to consolidate ownership at the top.
The FCC is proposing weakening cross-ownership rules and allowing dual station ownership in local markets, a decision that would make it possible for media conglomerates to further nationalize local news.
In the letter sent to the FCC on February 8th, WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson states, “It would be bitterly ironic if, because the Commission has abnegated any authority to require digital media entities to honor the principles of independence, localism, and diversity, then broadcast entities must now be relieved of the responsibility of honoring those principles, as well.”
Peterson continued, “Further consolidation of local radio and television station ownership would rob local communities of their access to serious journalistic engagement with local political, cultural, and business leaders, and to robust coverage of the issues that affect their daily lives.”
The WGAE has a unique perspective on how weakening ownership rules would affect content distribution as it represents the people who craft content for local and national broadcast entities (Fox 5 New York, CBS News, ABC, PBS), streaming video on demand services (Hulu, Netflix, CBSN, Prime Video) digital entities (Vox Media, HuffPost) and companies like VICE Media, which distribute content on cable television, pay television and the Internet.
ABOUT WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST
The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in film, television, news and new media. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit wgaeast.org.