US Lawmakers Spearhead FCC Probe

06 December 2007

WASHINGTON DC: US media regulator Kevin Martin and the Federal Communications Commission, which he leads, are under fire from senior lawmakers who are investigating "possible abuse of power".

In a letter from Democrat congressman John Dingell Martin has been told: "Given several events and proceedings over the past year, I am rapidly losing confidence that the commission has been conducting its affairs in an appropriate manner."

Martin has been pressing for increased supervision of the cable television industry and is trying to push through loosening of cross-media ownership rules.

He and his four fellow commissioners have been summoned to appear at a hearing this week to answer questions about how he informs the public and other commissioners about upcoming changes.

Avers congressman Bart Stupak, who heads the subcommittee conducting the investigation: "It is one thing to be an aggressive leader, but many of the allegations indicate possible abuse of power and an attempt to intentionally keep fellow commissioners in the dark."

The probe stems from a contentious FCC meeting last month about cable TV regulations at which other commissioners complained not enough data had been collected to enable them to make informed decisions.

Comments Ben Scott, policy director of media reform group Free Press: "The lack of transparency in FCC matters has left the public with little faith that the agency is acting in their best interest."

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff