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NABJ calls on Congress to reverse FCC media cross-ownership action

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Dec. 20 called on the U.S. Congress to reverse FCC action easing its rules to allow cross-ownership of a daily newspaper and broadcast outlet in the same city.

"Is the fourth estate to be sold to the highest bidder?" asked NABJ president Barbara Ciara. "Congress cannot allow the FCC to limit diverse voices and further prevent ownership opportunities to minorities."

Following the FCC decision, the NABJ issued a statement saying it “strongly believes that media ownership should reflect the racial and ethnic make up of society and such a decision prohibits such diversity.”

In the fall, Ciara wrote FCC commissioner Kevin Martin outlining why the organization objected to any lifting of the ban. Increased media consolidation would lead to the steady decrease of the number of minority media owners, she wrote. "The Commission has a responsibility to maintain its public interest obligations, and in order to do so, there must be safeguards to ensure station leadership and programming is as diverse as the communities they represent," she wrote.

Following the decision, Democratic and Republican members of the House of Representatives and Senate proposed legislation reversing the FCC's actions.

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