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Pai Proposes Moving EEO to Enforcement Bureau

FCC chair Ajit Pai has proposed moving oversight of its Equal Employment Opportunity rules from the Media Bureau to the Enforcement Bureau.

That came on what Pai identified as the 50th anniversary of the FCC's commitment to make sure the national policy against discrimination applied to broadcast licenses as well.

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Pai circulated a proposal to the other commissioners Wednesday (July 3) based on a recommendation from the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council 9MMTCA); NAACP; National Urban League; LULAC; and Rainbow PUSH Coalition that enforcement of EEO rules should be in the Enforcement Bureau.

"Fifty years ago today, the FCC ensured that our national policy against discrimination in hiring applied to broadcasters," Pai said. "And on this important anniversary, I’m pleased to propose another step toward ensuring equal employment opportunity in the communications industry. By deploying staff tasked with enforcing the commission’s EEO rules in the Enforcement Bureau, we’ll be able to improve the FCC’s enforcement of those rules and strengthen our commitment to fighting discrimination.”

Related: FCC Pledges Hard Data on Enforcement Bureau Performance

The EEO enforcement team of attorneys and others conducts periodic random audits of broadcasters and MVPDs, along with any issues arising from those.

Pai's office pointed to some diversity efforts under his leadership, including re-authorizing the Diversity Advisory Committee and his plans to establish an incubator program for broadcast diversity, the latter part of the FCC's quadrennial review of its media ownership rules.

Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) congratulates FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for his decision, announced today, to refer to colleagues a proposal to relocate Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) enforcement, now in the Commission’s Media Bureau, to its Enforcement Bureau. In April, the MMTC-led coalition of 34 national organizations (the “EEO Supporters,” including NAACP, National Urban League, LULAC, and Rainbow PUSH Coalition) proposed this action to the Commission, as well as that the Commission recognize the 50 Anniversary of its original EEO decision. Chairman Pai, through his actions today, has done both.

MMTC Acting President and CEO Maurita Coley issued the following statement:

"[W]e thank Chairman Pai for his swift response on this 50th Anniversary of the Commission’s original EEO decision," said MMTC acting President Maurita Coley. "The Chairman’s decision to urge that EEO enforcement be moved from the Media Bureau to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau speaks volumes about his willingness to listen, and to act, on proposals from civil rights and social justice advocates about diversity. The FCC’s bold decision 50 years ago in a divided nation to stop discrimination in broadcast hiring paved the way for diverse leaders such as Chairman Pai and former Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn – the first Indian-American and African-American woman FCC Chairs, respectively – to rise to leadership positions that were previously inaccessible to people of color.  The action today will help the world to see that ensuring equal opportunity is serious business at this FCC, and it sets an example for other industries, such as the tech industry, that have missed the mark.”

John Eggerton
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.