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WGAE: Resist consolidation

Org urges lawmakers to halt to media mergers; cites diversity, quality

The Writer’s Guild of America, East today urged lawmakers to resist further media consolidation, which it said undermines the quality of broadcast news and reduces the diversity of perspectives on TV.

It submitted the comments to the Federal Communications Commission as part of the public comment process now ongoing while the commission undertakes its latest quadrennial review of broadcast ownership regs.

“The Writers Guild of America, East takes issue with the assertion made by various media companies that consolidation of ownership frees up resources to improve news coverage, the union said in a statement Monday.

“Simply permitting television, radio, internet, or newspaper outlets to combine will inevitably result in less substance, in the absence of clearly defined requirements that specific levels of resources be devoted to journalism,” it added.

The FCC is looking at a number of rules, including TV and radio station ownership caps in individual markets, cross-ownership regulations that forbid one company’s owning a TV station and a newspaper in the same market without a waiver, and the dual network rule that prohibits common ownership of any of the top four broadcast nets.

Media companies have argued that the proliferation of new media outlets has heightened competition and make the current rules outdated.