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Reaffirming Commitment to Media Diversity

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 9, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 549) reaffirming the commitment to media diversity and pledging to work with media entities and diverse stakeholders to develop common ground solutions to eliminate barriers to media diversity.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The text of the resolution is as follows: H. Res. 549

Whereas the principle that an informed and engaged electorate is critical to a vibrant democracy is deeply rooted in our laws of free speech and underpins the virtues on which we established our Constitution, ``in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity . . .'';

Whereas having independent, diverse, and local media that provide exposure to a broad range of viewpoints and the ability to contribute to the political debate is central to sustaining that informed engagement;

Whereas it is in the public interest to encourage source, content, and audience diversity on our Nation's shared telecommunications and media platforms;

Whereas the survival of small, independent, and diverse media outlets that serve diverse audiences and local media markets is essential to preserving local culture and building understanding on important community issues that impact the daily lives of residents;

Whereas research by the American Society of News Editors, the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Pew Research Center, and others has documented the continued challenges of increasing diversity among all types of media entities;

Whereas with increasing media experience and sophistication, it is even more important to have minority participation in local media to ensure a diverse range of information sources are available and different ideas and viewpoints are expressed to strengthen social cohesion among different communities; and

Whereas the constriction in small, independent, and diverse media outlets and limited participation of diverse populations in media ownership and decisionmaking are combining to negatively impact our goal of increasing local civic engagement and civic knowledge through increased voter participation, membership in civic groups, and knowledge of local political and civil information: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) reaffirms its commitment to diversity as a core tenet of the public interest standard in media policy; and

(2) pledges to work with media entities and diverse stakeholders to develop common ground solutions to eliminate barriers to media diversity.

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Mr. PALLONE. Res. 549.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Res. 549, reaffirming the commitment to media diversity and pledging to work with media entities and diverse stakeholders to develop common ground solutions to eliminate barriers to media diversity.

This resolution promotes much-needed diversity in the communications marketplace, and I commend Representative Demings and her staff for all their efforts towards this resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I also thank Ranking Member Walden, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Doyle, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Latta for their work to bring this resolution to the floor.

This past year has highlighted racial inequities that have long existed in our society, as we saw with the protests over the murder of George Floyd and the disparate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on communities of color.

These inequities also exist in our communications marketplace. For example, the owners of broadcast and media outlets do not reflect our diverse population. These media outlet owners make critical decisions about the educational, political, entertainment, and news programming Americans watch, and those decisions can influence people's opinions and perceptions.

Diversity in viewpoints and diverse ownership of media outlets promotes programming that offers different perspectives and enables viewers to access programming that is relevant to them.

A diverse media marketplace is also central to an informed and engaged electorate, which is critical to a vibrant democracy.

Committing to a diverse media marketplace, one that reflects our country, is a worthy goal, and this resolution reaffirms that goal.

Today's resolution is a good step forward, but there is much more that we need to do. The numbers and statistics are clear that our media marketplace does not resemble the people we serve.

I hope we can come together to do the additional work that is needed, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution.
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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I have no additional speakers, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I ask for support on this legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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