Clyburn Praises Public/Private Partnership

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Former FCC commissioner and acting chair Mignon Clyburn made a case for the "public/private" partnership of regulator/industry as the blueprint for advancing a more diverse and inclusive media landscape.

Clyburn was delivering her virtual acceptance speech at the Media Institute's First Amendment awards ceremony.

She said it was appropriate that she was paired with the night's other honoree, Comcast's David Cohen (who won the American Horizon Award for Comcast's Internet Essentials broadband efforts). 

Related: Clyburn to Head INCOMPAS Connectivity Effort

She said it was fitting that a former FCC commissioner and a former media mogul were sharing the virtual stage--Cohen has stepped back from his day-to-day duties as Comcast's D.C. policy point man--because that pairing reaffirmed that both regulators and industry were needed to connect communities and giving individuals the tools they need to exercise their rights to free expression. 

She called the teaming of regulators, who must be mindful of the public interest, and the power of industry an "incredible public/private partnership" that has provided, among other things, the Universal Service Fund broadband subsidies that help lower-income Americans and hard-to-reach areas get broadband service.

She said that partnership "makes us the envy of the world," but also is a spur to do better. She said it is not always clear what that "better" will be, but the "collaborative, open, free market framework" allows both to work for a "better and more inclusive tomorrow."

Clyburn said that "tomorrow" includes a competitive communications landscape that allows all to participate and thrive. 

Clyburn is currently the principal of MLC Strategies and is on the board of production company Lionsgate.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.