Jan. 15, 2011 / The National Coalition of African American Owned Media (NCAAOM) denounces the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) as incompetent and unfair because of their failure to file the Triennial Report Section 257 to Congress prior to vetting Comcast Corporation’s (“Comcast”) proposed merger with NBC Universal (“NBCU”). Specifically, Section 257 of the Communications Act, requires the FCC to submit the Triennial Reports every three years “identifying and eliminating…market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses….” The FCC submitted the required reports for 1997, 2000, 2003, and (several months late) 2006, but the FCC has not yet submitted its 2009 report.
“FCC Chairman Genachowski’s shameful disregard to fulfill the statutory mandate of the Communications Act is utterly appalling and frustrating on many fronts, especially in light of Chairman Genachowski’s recent submission of the Comcast-NBCU merger order to the FCC Commissioners prior to filing the overdue Triennial Report to Congress,” said Stanley E. Washington, President and CEO, NCAAOM. “The FCC had sufficient time to produce the report and their flagrant disregard of their critical obligations to the law is no longer tolerable. Furthermore, it is unfortunate that the current FCC failed to address the last report to advance minority ownership and eliminate barriers for entry but consequently marginalized minorities voices. President Obama and his administration promised us change. Now is the time for the FCC to deliver on change and stipulate strict merger conditions to ensure African American wholly-owned media companies have no barriers to entry in order to access cable television bandwidth immediately on Comcast Cable’s platforms. Moreover, the Memos of Understanding with various minority groups are intentionally biased, flawed and disingenuous. A minimum of 50 channels must be set aside for wholly-owned African American media companies.
Shame on Julius Genachowski. He knows that the Comcast-NBCU merger should not be approved until the mandated 2009 Triennial Report, which is long overdue, has been filed, and the new Congress has sufficient time to review. Given the biased Memos of Understanding with the civil rights organizations that have accepted donations from Comcast-NBCU which creates a huge conflict of interest, and the FCC’s failure to file the mandated Triennial Report, this merger, if approved, will be successfully challenged. Obama and his administration cannot turn their backs on the African American community and the voices of future generations. They have the opportunity to embrace all minorities right now in a meaningful way. In order to have a true democracy, all of our voices must be widely distributed and truly heard. No inclusion. No merger,” stated Washington.
The National Coalition of African American Owned Media (NCAAOM) is working to ensure that African American Owned media companies are given the same opportunities as their non-African American counterparts to own, produce compelling content, access distribution, and flourish in today’s integrated media landscape. The organization is focused on creating sustained equality through ownership as a means of rectifying the continued racial imbalance within the competitive media industry.