WASHINGTON D.C.—MediaJustice has issued a statement strongly urging Congress to end political gridlock and confirm Gigi Sohn as an FCC commissioner so that the regulatory agency can take meaningful action on key issues facing the media and telecommunications industry.
The Commission is currently divided between two Democrats and two Republicans. Sohn was nominated to the Commission in October of 2021, but Congress has yet to confirm her despite having held hearings and Sohn making promises to recuse herself on controversial broadcast copyright and retransmission issues.
Now, with less than two weeks before Congress adjourns for their August recess, the likelihood of Gigi’s Sohn’s confirmation as commissioner is waning, the group said.
“For over a year, Congressional leadership has left us without a functioning Federal Communications Commission capable of addressing the harms of digital discrimination and digital redlining,” said Steven Renderos, Executive Director of MediaJustice. "The FCC plays a critical role in making sure everyone can stay connected using the communication tools of our time. Nowhere is this more crucial than in communities of color facing, who are a disproportionate amount of harm. As a confirmed commissioner, Gigi Sohn would have unique insight to set regulations that respect and advance the rights of Black and brown communities in the digital age.”
“As senior counsel to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Sohn met with delegations of impacted people,” Renderos added. “ Drawing from those meetings, she worked towards policies that advanced our communications access and power. In Sohn’s time at the FCC, the Commission lowered the cost of calls between incarcerated people and their loved ones; expanded the Lifeline program, bringing millions of low-income families online; and passed Net Neutrality rules to provide equal access to information regardless of one’s income or zip code.”
Renderos also argued that “[f]or years carriers intentionally have made discriminatory choices, magnifying already existing racial inequalities and prioritizing profits over people. No other industry, from airlines to medicine to food, enjoys this level of exploitive power because they all have regulators that oversee their practices. Thoughtful regulation is long overdue. Gigi Sohn has dedicated her career to defending the public interest, bringing the voice of everyday people into what were once closed door meetings regarding communications and technology policy. Congress must take action and confirm Sohn as FCC Commissioner now.”
MediaJustice works to build grassroots movements for a more just and participatory media—fighting for racial, economic, and gender justice in a digital age—and is home of the MediaJusticeNetwork, comprised of more than 100 grassroots partners,
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.
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