Broadcasters Call for a Senate Vote on the JCPA

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—With the 117th Congress coming to an end, broadcaster associations representing local, over-the-air broadcast stations in all 50 states have sent a letter to Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell asking them to hold a vote on Journalism Competition and Preservation Act in the Senate before the end of the current term. 

The letter said that the JCPA, which would allow news publishers to jointly negotiate with online platforms regarding the terms and conditions by which their content may be accessed online, "is urgently needed by local broadcasters and other news publishers so that they can continue to serve local communities around the country.”.

“Broadcasters provide an invaluable resource to local communities around the country, serving as a trusted source for news and information,” the letter explained. “However, the major tech behemoths are threatening the survival of local broadcasters and other news publishers throughout American communities. These behemoths have grown to massive sizes, and have gained enormous market power. They have upended the advertising marketplace and, in many cases, have devised anticompetitive practices to protect it. Broadcasters and other news publishers are now competing with these massive platforms for advertising revenue, and these platforms often act as gatekeepers of online content – exerting power over what internet users access and how advertisers reach them.”

“The JCPA is an urgently needed first step toward countering Big Tech’s market dominance,” the broadcast associations said in the letter. “This critical legislation would help level the playing field so that broadcasters and other local news publishers can jointly negotiate with dominant online platforms and be fairly compensated.”

The bill, “S. 673 has already undergone an extensive and rigorous process in the Senate Judiciary Committee, resulting in a strong bipartisan vote of 15 to 7 in favor of moving the legislation to the Senate floor,” the letter continued. “Republican and Democratic Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee made important changes to the bill to secure this bipartisan vote, and the legislation also enjoys the cosponsorship of a number of senior Republicans and Democrats who do not sit on the Committee.”

“We understand that there is precious little legislative time left on the Senate calendar before the end of the 117th Congress, and that there are a number of competing legislative priorities,” the letter concluded. “However, the JCPA is urgently needed by local broadcasters and other news publishers so that they can continue to serve local communities around the country. Therefore, whether on its own or with a package of other legislation addressing other aspects of Big Tech market dominance, we urge you to bring this bipartisan bill before the full Senate before the end of the year.”

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.