Minority Group Slams FCC for EEO Inaction

Washington -- The Minority Media and Telecom Council has
asked the FCC to suspend its equal employment opportunity (EEO) rules for three

But far from thinking the FCC doesn't need such rules, the
group is making the call to bring attention to what it says is 12 months of
inaction and the need to revamp the FCC's EEO rules. "Nothing is lost by
suspending it," said MMTC Executive Director David Honig, "since as
configured now it isn't producing any benefits to the public or broadcasters.

In a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, Honig said
that June 29 had marked a year since the last EEO decision -- three in fact -- but
that even those had been "leveled against a diverse broadcaster for
technical rule violations."

He said the last time there was no EEO enforcement for a
12-month period was June 1968 to June 1969.

"The decline in EEO enforcement cannot be attributed to
court decisions," said Honig. "Instead they are an indication that
EEO has been a low priority at the Commission for far too long."

The FCC wants to make sure its EEO initiatives and
enforcement can survive judicial scrutiny given the Adarand Supreme Court decision that "federal affirmative-action
programs that use racial and ethnic criteria as a basis for decision-making are
subject to strict judicial scrutiny."

Honig minced no words. "FCC EEO enforcement has no
apparent mission, no focus, no data for evaluation, and no results except
sanctioning the innocent while ignoring the guilty. Such a program only creates
the false security that comes when the constable is on duty yet asleep,"
he wrote.

He said the FCC should suspend enforcement so that it can
"revitalize and reaffirm" its commitment.

That, said Honig, should include moving EEO staff from the
Media Bureau to the Enforcement Bureau, tripling the number of staffers and
increasing the number of EEO audits, among other actions.

A spokesperson for the Media Bureau had no comment on the

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.