Project on Media Ownership

A Research Center in Affiliation with New York University

Statement of Support for Public Interest Obligations of Broadcasters

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Janine Jaquet (212.531-0765)

The Project on Media Ownership, an non-profit organization affiliated with New York University, collects and disseminates information about who owns what. Our purpose in this is to make available to all, rather than only those who can afford a massive research staff, just who controls our media.

Our interest in public service obligations stems from our belief that the ownership of television by giant, global conglomerates tends to encourage budgetary choices that favor immediate profits over long-term investments in the corporation, the industry and individual communities. Simply put, the media companies that own today's TV are largely run by financial managers who care far more about this quarter's dividends than about the vitality of entertainment programming or the integrity of news reporting.

Yet broadcasters must, by law and as a condition of their license, serve the "public interest." As the FCC takes up the issue of how this might be done in the digital age, we have a tremendous opportunity to ensure that reasonable, specific and enforceable public interest guidelines be established. Now is the time to ask regulators to consider more than simply economics, and to look also at how commercial broadcasters could fund truly independent filmmaking for the small screen, quality children's programming, documentaries, and other programming that enriches us all.

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