The WGA East is blasting the FCC’s proposed new rules that would allow dual ownership of TV stations in local markets, a decision that the guild says “would make it possible for media conglomerates to further nationalize local news.”
“Further consolidation of local radio and television station ownership would rob local communities of their access to serious journalistic engagement with local political, cultural, and business leaders, and to robust coverage of the issues that affect their daily lives,” WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson said in a letter to the FCC.
That proposed rule change comes at a time when the broadcast networks have already reoriented themselves to a new on-demand marketplace. “It would be bitterly ironic if, because the Commission has abnegated any authority to require digital media entities to honor the principles of independence, localism and diversity, then broadcast entities must now be relieved of the responsibility of honoring those principles, as well,” Peterson added.
The guild says it has a “unique perspective on how weakening ownership rules would affect content distribution” because it represents the people who create news content for local and national broadcast entities, such as CBS News, ABC, PBS and Fox News 5 in New York; streaming video on demand services such as Hulu, Netflix, CBSN and Prime Video; digital entities such as Vox Media and HuffPost, and companies like VICE Media, which distribute content on cable television, pay television and the Internet.