Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Benton Joins Call for Public Scrutiny of Sinclair
On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the Communications and Technology Law Clinic at Georgetown University’s Institute for Public Representation sent a letter on behalf of the Benton Foundation in support of the American Cable Association’s request that the Federal Communications Commission require the Sinclair Broadcast Group to file license renewal applications for its Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia television stations. The following may be attributed to Benton Senior Counselor Andrew Jay Schwartzman:
The FCC ruled that there are substantial and material questions as to whether Sinclair is qualified to be a broadcast licensee. There is only one way to resolve these questions in a transparent manner that allows public participation: a hearing on the renewal of Sinclair’s broadcast television licenses.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of maintaining public confidence in the FCC’s administration of broadcast license renewals. Because of Sinclair’s size and broad national footprint, there is an especially compelling public interest that the FCC employ a prompt and highly transparent process to adjudicate the company’s qualifications to remain a licensee.
Sinclair has been given exclusive access to scarce publicly-owned spectrum, essentially free of charge, conditioned on its agreement to place the public’s interest ahead of its own pecuniary interests. Sinclair is, quite literally, an integral part of the electoral process, charged with making sure it provides non-discriminatory access to candidates for public office and that it charges them no more than the price paid by its best advertising customers.
The viewing public and Sinclair’s competitors incur harm every day that an unqualified party is allowed to continue operating a broadcast station.
Read Benton's letter at https://www.benton.org/sites/default/files/Benton_Sinclair.pdf
Benton, a non-profit, operating foundation, believes that communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities to bridge our divides. Our goal is to bring open, affordable, high-capacity broadband to all people in the U.S. to ensure a thriving democracy.
For subscribe/unsubscribe info, please email headlinesATbentonDOTorg