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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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December 11, 2007 10:29 AM

This week in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Minority media ownership, localism, and media consolidation will be front and center this week in Washington, D.C. Both the House and Senate will be holding hearings on the issues.

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Task Force will have a hearing on media consolidation, and its impact on localism and minority ownership tomorrow. The hearing is at 2 p.m. in room 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is holding an oversight hearing for the Federal Communications Commission. The committee will listen to the five FCC commissioners talk about media and telecommunications policy. The hearing is at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 in room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Dan Rather, along with S. Derek Turner of Free Press will be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. Should be interesting. Rather is not one to hold back.

Hopefully the Commerce oversight hearing cements the Senate's worry about the FCC chairman's plan to get rid of cross-ownership rules. The committee approved a bipartisan bill last week that would force the FCC to slow down and consider the effects of cross-ownership on local programming. The Media Ownership Act of 2007 would also force the FCC to create a panel to study how more minorities and women could become owners of broadcast outlets.

The Senate needs to move on this bill. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wants a vote on his cross-ownership plan by next Tuesday.

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