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Defending and Expanding Freedom of the Airwaves
2005 Action of Immediate Witness
Open and diverse broadcasting is essential to a functioning democracy. In early June 2005, the United States Supreme Court allowed a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to stand that found proposed deregulation of ownership rules by the Federal Communications Commission to be neither reasonable nor in the public interest.
The George W. Bush Administration has cast doubt on the widely acclaimed fairness of the Public Broadcasting System and supports stripping it of federal funding. Increasing concentration of private ownership of commercial media has reduced the objectivity and diversity of public information, and the reputation and credibility of the Public Broadcasting System have become more important in this context.
Therefore, the delegates to the 2005 General Assembly call upon the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, their individual members and friends, and affiliate organizations to pledge themselves to protect the integrity and independence of our public airwaves by working to:
- Immediately communicate support for full funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to our congressional representatives in the United States Congress;
- Urge Congress to enact a moratorium on the further selling of publicly owned airwaves;
- Communicate support to the Federal Communications Commission for broadening the diversity of broadcast ownership and protection of the public interest as it redrafts media ownership rules following the June 2005 Federal Court rulings;
- Advocate for reserving a substantial portion of the broadcast spectrum for publicly financed and non-profit broadcasting, both private and public, accountable to locally and/or regionally elected public commissions; and
- Support the constitutional legal challenge of the Media Legal Project of Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community toward restructuring the broadcasting system in keeping with the First Amendment (freedom of the press) and the Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection under the law).