WASHINGTON—The call from broadcasters to reduce Equal Employment Opportunity rules entirely misses the point of the FCC’s efforts regarding EEO efforts, according to the Multicultural Media Telecom & Internet Council.
“The proceeding is not about how to totally eviscerate, diminish or cripple EEO enforcement,” MMTC wrote in its reply comments to the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on EEO. “Instead, the NPRM called for comments on how to improve the current EEO enforcement system.”
This stance is based on comments filed by the NAB and other broadcaster groups that argued for the removal or reworking of current EEO enforcement methods. One of the arguments made for this by state broadcaster associations is that there hasn’t been an indictment of a single broadcaster on discrimination since the EEO rules were instituted in 1969. However, MMTC sees that as precisely the problem.
“It is simply not the case that broadcasting is the only industry in the nation whose thousands of employers included no racial or gender discriminations in the past 50 years,” MMTC wrote. “The fact that an industry contains discriminators, but they never get prosecuted, much less held liable, is certainly not a strong argument for weakening the obviously insufficient EEO compliance program in place now.”
Other arguments made by broadcasters and those seeking to reduce or refine the EEO rules are based on cost or “burdensome” requirements. The MMTC counters by arguing that the EEO rules to avoid a potential audit only require they “recruit broadly,” which it states can be done by posting an open position online.
A specific point that MMTC said in its comments that it would like to see reinstituted as part of the EEO rules in the use of Form 395, which is designed to be able to determine and identify broadcasters who recruited broadly versus hiring through “word of mouth.”
All of this comes as a result of the FCC’s deregulation efforts of the EEO rules being denied by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which suggested that the FCC did not adequately gauge of the impact of its revisions—however, that ruling specifically dealt with diverse station ownership, not employment.
FCC’s ECFS has MMTC’s full comments.