Public Hearing at Stanford This Friday on Media Ownership

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday is holding a public hearing at Stanford University on the impact media consolidation and technological innovation has had on journalism. The hearing is part of the FCC’s review of its 2010 media ownership laws. This free event will feature a panel that includes Tim Westergren, Founder of Pandora Music, Eddy W. Hartenstein, Publisher and CEO, Los Angeles Times, Jim Joyce, President, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, and Vice President, Communications Workers of America and Alan Mutter, Publisher, Reflections of a Newsosaur, and Tiffiniy Ying Cheng, Co-Founder, Participatory Culture Foundation. The public will be able to comment during two comment sections. A schedule is available here.

The national media reform organization, Free Press, is urging all citizens concerned about too much corporate control over what we see and hear to attend this hearing. Says Josh Stearns, Program Manager for Free Press and SaveTheNews, “Even though President Obama has opposed media consolidation, Big Media has been beating down the door at the FCC. They are pushing the Obama FCC to go even farther than the Bush FCC and dramatically relax media ownership laws, letting absentee Big Media giants control even more local media.”

Below is footage of the most recent public hearing held in Columbia, South Carolina.

Although the Web has become a valuable refuge for those of us seeking alternatives to the Mainstream Media, most Americans still get the bulk of their news and information from the broadcast and cable networks and commercial talk radio. Most people still listen to music on commercial radio. And because of media consolidation, many cities, including Los Angeles, have lost newspapers, creating an environment where only one publication dominates. Contrary to what the big media conglomerates argue, letting fewer and fewer of these companies own more and more stations has not created competition, but stifled it, leading to dumbed-down infotainment masquerading as “news” and a lack of diverse voices in our media. As a result, Americans are as ill-served and ill-informed as ever – a situation that is having disastrous consequences for our democracy. With the pending Comcast/NBC Universal merger threatening to make our airwaves even more homogenized, it’s imperative that the public makes its voice heard. So if you can get up to Stanford this Friday and go to this, please do so.

What: Media Ownership Public Hearing

When: May 21, 2010, 10AM to 5PM (the public comment section is at 11:45 and 3:30)

Where: Stanford University, Dinkelspiel Auditorium, 471 Lagunita Drive, Stanford, CA