May 28, 2003

MIM urges President Bush to support the existing caps on broadcast network ownership of local TV stations


NEW YORK (28 May 2003) – Morality in Media President Robert W. Peters has written a letter to President George W. Bush, asking him to support the existing caps on broadcast network ownership of local television stations.

“We urge you to support efforts to retain the national broadcast television ownership cap at the 35% level,” Peters wrote. “It is critical that we preserve the ability of local stations to reflect the values, interests and concerns of local viewers; and that is far more likely to happen when local affiliates are locally owned.”

Peters continued, “In recent years, many non-network-owned local stations have refused to run certain network television programs—including Victoria’s Secret Fashion ShowTemptation IslandNYPD Blue, and God, the Devil, and Bob—because the content of these shows did not meet local community standards. By contrast, we understand that the national networks have not provided a single instance where a network-owned station rejected a network program because it did not meet community standards.”

“We are also concerned about the self-serving replacement of public service ads with indecent and violent promotions for national network programming,” Peters said.

Representatives Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) and John Dingell (D-Michigan) have introduced H.R. 2052, which would codify the present FCC rule prohibiting any one entity from owning TV broadcast stations that reach greater than 35 percent of the national TV audience. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Ernest Hollings (D-South Carolina). The FCC is currently reviewing commercial broadcast ownership rules. Press reports indicate that the Commission will likely increase thecap to 45 percent.

Morality in Media joins a broad coalition of groups—including the American Family AssociationChildren NowNational Council of Churches, and Parents Television Council—in urging retention of the 35% cap.

MORALITY IN MEDIA is a nonprofit national organization, with headquarters in New York City, working through constitutional means to curb traffic in illegal obscenity and to uphold standards of decency in the mainstream media.

Author: Patrick McGrath   05/28/2003

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