The Chicago Parent article about TV turnoff week (April, 2004) mentioned the Federal Communications Commission's indecency crackdown in the wake of the Super Bowl halftime show. What happened at the Super Bowl certainly encouraged the FCC to act, but it should be noted that the FCC is also acting in the face of a considerable outcry in the past year over its controversial media ownership policies.
Parents should be concerned about these policies because they would allow fewer companies to own even more TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and Internet service providers. With such concentrated ownership comes the likelihood of big media less responsive to parental concerns and fraught with ever-increasing indecency and commercialism. In fact, FCC policies helped spur the growth of Viacom, the owner of CBS, which aired the Super Bowl.
The ownership policies are currently frozen under a court-ordered suspension, but they face lawsuits, legislation and national protests. The FCC, with egg on its face, has begun a series of national hearings on localism in media (the Midwest hearing is May 26, in Rapid City, S.D.). Chicago Parent readers should be aware of these policies and stay involved, and can do so at www.mediareform.net or www.chicagomediaaction.org.
MITCHELL SZCZEPANCZYK, President, Chicago Media Action, Chicago
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