Senate Commerce to hold mark up on Dorgan’s Cross-Ownership Bill April 24

April 2, the Senate Committee postponed its Executive Session (which is open to the public) until April 24. The agenda sent out in a March 27 news release includes, among other items, consideration of Senator Dorgan’s (D-ND)

S.J. Res 28, A joint resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to broadcast media ownership

That day, John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable published a story, “Senate Commerce Committee Postpones Hearing on FCC-Blocking Bill: Blames Inoyue’s Health, Not Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez’s Letter, for Delay.”

Like many, I’m working on taxes today, and so will have to write more later–this will probably be my story for LLRX. For more information until then, you can look at Stop Big Media, which has an action alert in support of the bill, saying,

Senator Dorgan just introduced a bill (SJ Res. 28) to veto the FCC’s big handout to Big Media, but Congress must act within 60 legislative days. In 2003, nearly 3 million citizens just like you demanded that the Senate overturn the FCC’s last attempt to let Big Media get even bigger. We can do it again — but we need your help.

Last December, the FCC approved new rules that could unleash a flood of media consolidation across America. The new rules could mean less diverse voices, local news and investigative journalism. Congress has the power to throw out these rules — and if hundreds of thousands of people demand it, they’ll have to listen.

Since I’m in a rush, I’ll provide the organization’s information here. There is a catch to the resolution introduced March 5: the bill will expire unless it is passed in 60 legislative days.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

In the days and weeks before the FCC dismantled the 30-year-old rule that prevented one company from owning the major newspaper and a radio or TV station in one town, Commissioner Michael Copps noted that it felt like “Déjà vu all over again.”

In 2003, when the FCC tried to do away with all media ownership rules, nearly 3 million people took action, writing their members of Congress, telling their friends and organizing their communities to speak out on this important issue. With that kind of momentum, lawmakers had no choice but to listen. The Senate voted to overturn the FCC decision, before the courts tossed them out altogether.

“The situation isn’t going to repair itself,” proclaimed Commissioner Copps on the day of the FCC vote last December. “Big media is not going to repair it. This Commission is not going to repair it. But the people, their elected representatives, and attentive courts can repair it. Last time the Commission went down this road, the majority heard and felt the outrage of millions of citizens and Congress and then the court. … Last time a lot of insiders were surprised by the country’s reaction. This time they should be forewarned.”

Time for Action

In just one week after the FCC vote more than 200,000 people signed on to an open letter to Congress calling on them to overturn the FCC’s holiday handout to Big Media. Now with a bill in the Senate, we need to build the momentum and turn up the heat on our policy makers.
Stop Big Media

A bipartisan group of 26 senators wrote a letter to the FCC in December vowing to “immediately move legislation that will revoke and nullify the proposed rule” and now is their chance to follow through on that promise.

Here’s what we need to do:

1. We need every person who signed on to the open letter in 2007 to write their Senators again asking them to support to Senator Dorgan’s “resolution of disapproval.”
2. Spread the word. We need all of you to talk with five of your friends or neighbors and get them to take action as well. If all 200,000 people can get just five other people to take action, we’ll get a million letters into the Senate.

There has never been a more important time to take a stand for quality journalism, strong local news, and diverse and independent voices. Can you help us fight for a better media in America?

Take Action Online Here:
https://secure.freepress.net/site/Advocacy?id=243&pagename=homepage

Send a Message to a Friend Here:
http://free.convio.net/site/Ecard?ecard_id=1109

Then join others from around the country at the Free Press Action Network to talk about other ideas to make your voice heard and get the word out in your community. The discussion is going on now at http://www.freepress.net/action.

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