Leadership Conference Says 323 Comment Extension Is Insufficient

Advises FCC Not to Vote Media Ownership Item in Early January
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The Leaderhip Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which represents groups that have been critical of the FCC's media ownership proposal, has told the FCC that its proposed 30-day extension of the comment period on its associated 323 state of ownership survey is not sufficient.

They also don't want the FCC to vote the ownership item in early January after the comment period closes.

In a letter to the FCC commissioners, the group said that its more than 200 member organizations had concluded that extra period--until Jan. 4 on a report released Nov. 14--permit a full opportunity to understand, analyze, and offer comment on the ownership data, especially since the data was only released two weeks ago."

The add that the brief window could leave the FCC wide open for a court challenge because it is "self-evidently insufficient." Free Press has already threatened to sue the FCC over the proposal--too loosen crossownership rules--whenever the FCC approves it.

"The expansion of minority and female ownership in media is too essential for the civil rights community to accept empty promises of future action to improve diversity of ownership," they wrote. "The burden of proof lies with the Commission to demonstrate that its media ownership rules promote ownership by women and people of color, and thus, we expect the Commission to give full consideration to the comments received in the new comment cycle. Further, we anticipate additional meetings and dialogue after the comment period is concluded. Accordingly, we seek your assurances that you will not rush to conclude the 2010 Quadrennial docket in early January without time for dialogue."

An FCC spokesman was unavailable for comment on the letter, but the chairman's office maintains the FCC has taken diverisity into account in the proposal and given plenty of opportunity for comment on proposals it first offered a year ago.