House Passes Media Diversity Bills

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Architect of the Capitol)

The House Tuesday passed a bill and a resolution aimed at achieving greater media diversity.

The votes on each were 319-105 — they were part of a block vote on a handful of communications-related bills.

H.R. 1754, the MEDIA (Measuring the Economics Driving Investments and Access) Diversity Act, was introduced by Reps. Billy Long (R-Mo.) and Marc Veasey (D-Tex.). It would require the FCC to take into account market entry barriers to market entry for “socially disadvantaged individuals.”

Also passed was a resolution committing the House to work with media entities and others to advance media diversity by developing “common ground solutions to eliminate barriers to media diversity.” Resolutions don't have the force of law but instead express the sense of the House on a subject.

National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith applauded the bills for “promoting solutions that address barriers to entry into the media industry for underserved populations.”

He also put in a plug for a bill from Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) that would reinstate the tax certificate program, which gave media companies tax breaks for selling TV or radio stations to minorities and women.

“We are proud of the bipartisan support these important bills received in the House today and urge swift passage in the Senate,” said House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-Pa.).

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.