Washington, DC (May 25, 2016): Today, the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Prometheus Radio Project v. Federal Communications Commission castigated the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its failure to act on the definition of “small disadvantaged business enterprises” (SDBs) that would be eligible to benefit from FCC diversity initiatives. The Court directed the FCC to enter into a mediation aimed at creating a new definition of these “eligible entities” and gave a clear warning that if the Commission does not come up with a workable deadline for establishing a new definition of “eligible entities,” it will step in.
The FCC has promised studies on minority and female ownership for more than two decades, and the Court directed the Commission to finally take action, stating that if the FCC “needs more data” to find a definition that will improve minority ownership, “it must get it.”
The Court also extracted from the FCC a promise to address 24 MMTC minority ownership proposals. The Court expects the FCC to circulate an order ruling on these proposals in June. Some of MMTC’s proposals have been pending before the FCC for over a decade.
“Justice delayed is not justice denied. After 12 years of FCC delay, at last a definition that would advance minority broadcast ownership appears to be within reach,” stated MMTC President and CEO Kim Keenan. “We are encouraged that the Third Circuit wants to give relief to multicultural owners in the clear future rather than some distant, unknown future.”
MMTC looks forward to working with the FCC to develop a timeline within the court-ordered 60-day timeframe to make sure that the long-awaited studies are completed.
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The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) is a non-partisan, national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications, and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide. MMTC is generally recognized as the nation’s leading advocate for minority advancement in communications.