Protect Lifeline and Diverse Media Ownership

Categories: Advocacy Letter, Media & Technology

View a PDF of this letter here. 

Recipient: Chairman Ajit Pai, U.S. Federal Communications Commission

Dear Chairman Pai:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we write to submit for the record our statement, “How the FCC Could Roll Back Hard Fought Civil Rights Advances.” The Leadership Conference is a coalition of more than 200 national advocacy organizations charged by its diverse membership to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. Our Media/Telecommunications Task Force includes organizations that are dedicated to ensuring affordable broadband and increasing media ownership diversity. In this statement, we address two core civil rights priorities—the need to protect the Lifeline low-income program and the importance of measuring and remedying the lack of ownership diversity in broadcasting—and express our strong concerns about the Federal Communications Commission’s recently released proposals in each area.

The Leadership Conference strongly supports the Lifeline program and its modernization to make broadband more affordable. In addition, media diversity has long been a top priority of The Leadership Conference because we understand that meaningful protection of civil rights and advancement of key policy objectives rely in great measure on an accurate, independent, and diverse media that serves the constituencies and our members represent.

For these reasons, as noted in our statement, we are extremely troubled by the Commission’s proposals released in advance of the November 16, 2017 open meeting, which would roll back hard fought civil rights advances — at a time when our educational and economic opportunities, as well as political participation, are increasingly dependent upon communications infrastructure and technology. We urge the Commission to immediately reverse course and reject the Lifeline and media ownership items as currently drafted.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this letter, please feel free to contact Media/Telecommunications Task Force Co-Chairs Cheryl Leanza, United Church of Christ, Office of Communication, Inc., at 202-904-2168 or cleanza@alhmail.com, or Michael Macleod-Ball, on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, at 202-253-7589 or macleod@627consulting.com, or Corrine Yu, Leadership Conference Managing Policy Director, at 202-466-5670 or yu@civilrights.org.

Sincerely,

Vanita Gupta
President & CEO

 

Cc:The Honorable Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner
The Honorable Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner
The Honorable Brendan Carr, Commissioner
The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner