Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Guild continues its public opposition to media consolidation

Concentration of communications power in the hands of a few corporate companies threatens democracy. That was the message to FCC commissioners from unionists and activists at a recent rally at the Federal Communication Commission's D.C. headquarters. TNG Secretary-Treasurer Bernie Lunzer joined GCC/IBT President George Tedeschi and Jesse Jackson to oppose media consolidation and demand that FCC commissioners dilute the conglomerates' power by limiting their combined control of newspapers, television, cable firms and other information providers. "This is not a hypothetical fight. The destruction" of newspapers and other media by the big conglomerates "is already taking place," he warned. Mark Gruenberg of Press Associates, Inc. news service wrote:

Lunzer cited two examples were one mogul has taken over an area's media and fired staffers, curbed the flow of information and — in one case — used the staff firings to argue the Guild does not represent most workers any more, and thus should be ousted.

That case is in the San Francisco Bay area, where Denver-based MediaNews Group has taken control of all but one newspaper, and then laid off so many staffers from them – notably from the San Jose Mercury-News that he now argues the Guild does not have a majority of workers.

"So you'll have about a dozen papers with the same masthead and the same content" up and down California, owned by [MediaNews Group], Lunzer said.
Our neighbors and friends need to know that their valued source of information, their hometown newspaper, is at risk of disappearing into a cookie-cutter, not-so-local publication with little relevance to their community. Save the Press-Telegram!

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