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Chicago Activists Rally at Tribune Plaza Against FCC
By Mitchell Szczepanczyk
More than 15 protesters took part in a rally at Tribune Plaza on September 4, 2003. The rally was organized to protest against the FCC deregulation vote of June 2, which saw a significant repeal of the remaining media ownership rules in the United States. [Disclosure: The author of this article was also one of the organizers of the rally.]
The rally proceeded in spite of an Philadelphia appeals court ruling on September 3 granting a stay against the change of the media ownership rules, which would have gone into effect on September 4.
The rally was sponsored by Chicago Media Action, the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women, and the Independent Press Assocation--Chicago. Representatives of each of the three sponsoring groups spoke at the rally: Mitchell Szczepanczyk and Karen Young, the president and treasurer respectively of Chicago Media Action; Jackie Lalley, the Chicago Area Coordinator of the Independent Press Association; and Jennifer Koehler, the president of Chicago NOW.
Tribune Plaza was chosen as the rally venue because the Tribune Company has been lobbying in favor of the deregulation. One of the FCC rules of particular interest to the Tribune (and one under heated contention in Congress) is the FCC's cross-ownership rule, which would allow a single firm to own a newspaper and a TV station in the same market.
The rally was one of nearly a half-dozen similar events around the United States organized in concert to condemn the FCC's ownership deregulation efforts. One resource, reclaimthefcc.org, noted similar rallies in San Francisco, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles. The efforts against the FCC (particularly a mention of the Chicago rally) earned a prominent mention in Danny Schechter's News Dissector Weblog for September 3 on mediachannel.org.
CAN-TV was on hand to videotape the event. After the rally ended, a number of rally participants moved to the NBC Tower, just east of the Tribune Tower, to shoot some more photographs.