July 8, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Art Neill, Executive Director, New Media Rights, (619) 591-8870
New Media Rights Joins The Coalition for Competition in Media
San Diego, CA – New Media Rights has joined more than 20 public interest groups and private organizations to launch the Coalition for Competition in Media (CCM) to oppose Comcast’s proposed acquisition of NBC-Universal, because of the serious threats it poses to consumers, workers and the health of the media market.
The Coalition is urging the FCC and Justice Department to consider the far-reaching implications this merger will have on competition and consumer choice, and is asking those agencies to use their authority to protect the public interest.
New Media Rights is particularly concerned with the what the merger means for the future of the Internet.
Chief among New Media Rights' concerns are that Comcast will exercise its increasing power as an internet access provider as well as a source of content to affect how the Internet evolves as a central platform for accessing entertainment, news and information.
For example, we are concerned that Internet users who do not subscribe to a particular Comcast package could find that some Internet based content is blocked or only accessible with additional fees.
Over the last few months, New Media Rights has expressed concern about the merger, encouraged citizens to participate in local hearings here in California on media consolidation, and commented to the FCC on the need for a diverse media in the San Diego region and across the country.
In New Media Right's Future of Media comments we wrote about the importance of media diversity in our region, and its effect on the quality local journalism. We firmly believe this consolidation does harm to people's access to media and the quality of information.
New Media Rights, along with our affiliate organization UCAN, has worked for years on making sure that broadband utilities do not create higher prices and fewer choices in cable providers and sources of information.
The Coalition is also releasing a letter to Rep. Bobby Rush, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, and Rep. Rick Boucher, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, urging them to ask tough questions at the field hearing in Chicago about the deal’s negative impacts on consumers, workers and fair competition in the media market.
“As the nation’s largest cable company, the largest internet service provider, the owner of the NBC broadcast network, owner of the local NBC and Telemundo stations in some of the nation’s largest media markets, owner of dozens of national, regional and local news, entertainment and sports cable networks, and owner or part-owner of some of the most heavily visited websites on the internet, the merged entity will exert a degree of power unknown in our nation’s media history,” the Coalition wrote in its letter to Rush and Boucher.
“That degree of concentrated power is fundamentally threatening to the public interest. Before allowing such a sea-change to take place, these impacts must be fully studied and understood – and the threats must be mitigated through energetic applications of the government’s regulatory authority,” the Coalition wrote in the letter.
The Coalition is also launching CompetitionInMedia.org, a website where consumers and policymakers can learn more about how the proposed deal will harm consumers, workers and the health of the media industry.
About the Coalition for Competition in Media:
The Coalition for Competition in Media represents public interest groups, workers in the industry, independent programmers and distributors, small and minority media interests, and private telecommunications firms.
Members include Bloomberg; Common Cause; Concerned Women for America; Free Press; Greenlining; Mabuhay Alliance; Media Access Project; National Association of Independent Networks; National Consumers League; National Coalition of African American Owned Media (NCAAOM); National Organization for Women; National Telecommunications Cooperative Association; New Media Rights; Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO); Parents Television Council; Rural Independent Competitive Alliance; Sports Fans Coalition; WealthTV; Western Telecommunications Alliance; Writers Guild of America, East; and Writers Guild of America, West.
To find out more about the Coalition for Competition in Media visit the website.