Hollywood Writers Want Media Curbs


Hollywood writers said Monday that they want the merger between EchoStar
Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc. blocked and limits placed on the ownership
of cable systems and broadcast and cable networks.

The Writers Guild of America -- both the West and East chapters of the union, which includes 11,300 writers for the cable, film and broadcast industries --
also insisted that the Federal Communications Commission hold an open meeting on
media consolidation in Hollywood.

'Hearings in Hollywood to hear from the entertainment community are
essential,' the WGA said in a statement Monday.

In addition to stopping the DBS merger, the WGA called on the FCC to cap
cable-system ownership at 30 percent of pay TV subscribers; to restrict the cable
and broadcast networks one company can own; and to curb the amount of programming a
network can produce in-house and the number of hours of airtime an affiliated
program can obtain on a parent network.

'We have witnessed an unparalleled consolidation within our industry. This
consolidation limits diversity and creativity. Ultimately it is the American
public that is hurt,' WGA West president Victoria Riskin said in a
prepared statement.