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NAHJ Calls for Minority Media Study

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is calling for another study of minority broadcast ownership before the FCC recrafts its media-ownership rules.

In a letter from NAHJ President Veronica Villafañe to Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, the group points out that the last National Telecommunications & Information Association minority-ownership study was in 2000. NTIA is Commerce's telecommunications policy arm.

"We are concerned that any action to further deregulate our nation’s broadcast ownership regulations will reduce the number of minority owners," NAHJ said.

The 2000 report, they said, "found that people of color made up only 3.8 % of all broadcast station owners. In contrast, people of color currently make up 35 % of the U.S. population. That figure is expected to increase to 50% by 2050."

NAHJ, representing over 2,000 journalists, said it is concerned that the percentage of minority broadcast owners has dropped since 2000.

"We urge the NTIA to conduct a new study on the state of minority ownership because it is critical for the public to understand the impact of regulatory action on minority owners."

The FCC plans to start rewiting deregulatory ownership rules--remanded by the courts--as soon as it can seat a fifth commissioner. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin tried to start the process last summer but was blocked by disagreements with Democrats over funding for new studies and the number of planned town meetings to gain public input on the rules.