February 03, 2003

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists appealed to the FCC this past week to postpone issuing new broadcast ownership regulations until the commission has held a series of public hearings nationwide that allow for the maximum possible public input into its deliberations.

During a Feb. 21-22 meeting in New York City, the board of directors of NAHJ also called on media companies to provide adequate news coverage of the commission's broadcast ownership review and for journalists and journalism organizations to join NAHJ in its appeal to the FCC.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell has called the current review "the most comprehensive look at media ownership ever undertaken by the FCC." Yet, Powell has scheduled only one public hearing in Richmond, Va., Feb. 27. "The American people have not been adequately informed about the profound changes that are about to occur," said NAHJ President Juan Gonzalez. "Chairman Powell should seek the widest possible public debate before promulgating rules that will fundamentally alter the media landscape in our nation."

A recent action alert, by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, revealed that since the FCC announced the review of the nation's broadcast ownership rules last September, ABC, CBS and NBC have failed to cover the issue. FAIR found only one network story on the issue: a short summary on ABC's World News This Morning that aired on Sept. 9 at 4:30 a.m.

Journalism organizations interested in joining NAHJ in its appeal should contact the NAHJ headquarters at 1000 National Press Building in Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1984, NAHJ's mission is to increase the number of Latinos working in our nation's newsrooms and to improve news coverage of the nation's Latino community.

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