Legislators Back Fuse Content Diversity Report Petition

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Architect of the Capitol)

Most of two dozen members of Congress have told the FCC that it should create a content vendor diversity report given what they say is the media industry's exclusion of the underserved.

Back in May, Fuse Media led groups petitioning the FCC to collect the content diversity data, including from streaming services owned by media companies licensed by the FCC. They argued that the FCC's failure "regularly to collect and report on data regarding the demographic diversity of vendors providing one of the most critical inputs to the video marketplace: content," did not square with its charger to promote competition and diversity in the video marketplace.

In a letter Friday to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in response to an FCC request for comment on the petition and led by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), a mix of House members and Senators said they believed the FCC should launch a rulemaking to create the content vendor diversity report that would require "licensees and regulatees in broadcast, cable, broadband, and satellite services to collect diversity data from the content vendors they use,” they said.

The legislators called the media content delivery industry "the dominant narrative-creating and image-defining institution in the United States."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of Rainbow/PUSH, has long argued that who controls that narrative is the civil rights issue of this century.

The legislators suggest it is time to start giving minorities a bigger role in that narrative and the report could be a useful tool.

"The media and entertainment industry is notorious for excluding people from historically underserved backgrounds," they said. "The FCC should initiate rulemaking to establish new content vendor diversity reporting requirements to bring transparency to the media and entertainment industry."

Among those also signing on to the letter were Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Sen.Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). 

Jon Lafayette contributed to this post. ▪️

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.

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