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Press Release of Senator Cantwell
Cantwell: FCC Speed is Preventing Public Participation in Media Ownership Proceeding
Friday, November 02,2007
WASHINGTON, DC – Friday, U.S. Senator Cantwell (D-WA) and Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking them to give the public four weeks notice of the date of the hearing for media ownership in Seattle. Just hours after the FCC received this letter, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced the final public hearing on this issue in Seattle a week from today, on November 9th,giving the public little time to make plans to participate.
“Anyone who wishes to participate in these public hearings must have enough time to do so,” said Cantwell. “This should not be about checking the box. Announcing a public hearing at the last minute is counter-productive and does not permit real public input on this critically important issue.”
The Commission’s last public hearing was on Wednesday of this week regarding its localism proceeding. The short notice for the hearing, also announced a week prior to the date, prompted Cantwell and Inslee to write to the FCC that it “effectively barred many people from participating, and ran counter to the shared objective of soliciting broad public input.”
Both Cantwell and Inslee’s offices have received inquiries from people in Seattle, along with other areas of the Northwest, including Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska, who are interested in participating. Their participation would require greater planning to be a part of the public forum.
[The text of the Senator and Congressman’s letter to Chairman Martin follows below]
November 2, 2007
The Honorable Kevin J. Martin
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Chairman Martin:
We are pleased to read reports that your office has selected Seattle as the location for the Commission’s sixth public hearing on media ownership, although we are troubled by the speed at which you are attempting to complete the proceeding. We urge you to give at least four weeks advance notice before the Seattle hearing, in order to allow the public time to arrange plans to attend and prepare testimony.
At the Commission’s last public hearing on its localism proceeding held earlier this week, it was evident that your last-minute announcement of the hearing on October 24, 2007 effectively barred many people from participating, and ran counter to the shared objective of soliciting broad public input.
Our offices have learned that there is significant interest in this hearing not only in Seattle, but regionally across Washington, and in Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. Individuals traveling from these areas, as well as working people and those with family or health care obligations, need reasonable advance notice in order to participate.
We appreciate your consideration in this matter and look forward to joining you at the media ownership hearing.
Senator Maria Cantwell, Congressman Jay Inslee