Rep. Cárdenas Urges AT&T, Univision Pact

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) says he has "serious concern" over the AT&T/Univision carriage dispute and urged a resolution ASAP for the sake of the Latino community.

In a statement Tuesday (March 8), Cárdenas said he wanted the parties "to quickly and responsibly resolve this situation and come to an agreement in order to ensure the Latino community can continue accessing the content they choose at this pivotal time for our country."

The congressman made the issue personal. "Millions of viewers in the United States choose Spanish-language programming every year, in the same way that Spanish language radio and television were the primary sources of entertainment and information in our home while I was growing up."

He suggested a swift resolution would be good corporate citizenship.

"This situation highlights how important it is for the individuals and companies that control our media landscape to maintain a commitment to civic responsibility, particularly to the Latino community," he said.

The stations and networks of Univision have been off U-Verse since March 4, though they are being restored Wednesday night for the Democratic debate. Cárdenas did not address the debate hiatus in his statement, which came before the news broke, but clearly signaled access to the networks on U-Verse had political implications.

"The Latino community has an unprecedented opportunity this year to be a strong and decisive voice in our nation’s future," he said. "Few things would be more detrimental to this potential than limiting the viewing options for one of the Latino community’s most trusted sources of information. It is difficult to overstate the importance of media as a tool to encourage civic engagement and participation, and the importance of a diverse and well-informed public."

Following the announcement that the debate was back on U-Verse, Cárdenas said told B&C: “It’s definitely a step forward. We cannot have a whole group of folks missing out on this very important civic event. This is the only Spanish-language Democratic debate, and it would be harmful for a portion of our nation’s Spanish-speaking community to be unable to watch. Our diverse country should have access to the information resources they trust the most.”

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.