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Oregonians Voice Concerns About Media Ownership

November 9, 2007

Portland, OR – Some Oregonians are headed to Seattle today to voice their concerns about a plan that would make it legal for the same company to own a newspaper and a radio or television station in the same area. They point to a recent study from the Media and Democracy Coalition showing more than two-thirds of Americans are concerned about the Federal Communications Commission's latest proposal. Beth McDowell with the Media and Democracy Coalition says that concern is warranted.

"The more concentration we have in the media, the fewer local voices we're able to hear, and the less coverage of local issues, as broadcasters specifically favor national programming that's cheaper to produce."

McDowell says the FCC has already weakened media consolidation rules, damaging competition in many cities.

"We're very concerned that if the FCC weakens the rules even further, we'll see big media get even bigger, squeezing out local, independent sources of media."

Janice Thompson with Democracy Reform Oregon worries that, if all the newspapers and at least one large television station in an area were owned by the same company, it couldn't help but limit the flow of information.

"Whether you're concerned about bias in the media, commercialism on children's TV, or lack of diverse voices in the news, it's important to understand that the owners of the channels we watch have a huge impact on it. That's only going to get worse if big media is allowed to get bigger."

Tonight's FCC hearing in Seattle is the last public hearing on the issue. The FCC Commissioners are expected to vote on the issue next month.

Dondrea Warner/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - OR