MRC Weekly Digest – 9th April 2021

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday April 9, 2021 Read More
Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here for the Media Reform Coalition. I’ll be writing a weekly blog for MRC. For even more content on media, work, and politics, you can follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture. For now, here’s your Media Reform News Digest!

The US Supreme Court Allows FCC to Change 3 Media Ownership Rules

The Supreme Court has upheld a decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to remove three of its rules on media ownership:
  • prohibiting ownership of both a daily newspaper and TV station in any given market
  • limiting the number of radio stations and TV stations that can be owned
  • requiring at least eight independently owned local TV stations to remain in the market before any company can own two stations. 
The court agreed that said restrictions were written for the pre-digital age and did not, as had been in question, “harm minority or female ownership of media outlets”. The court also noted that “The FCC’s focus is encouraging viewpoint diversity for the benefit of consumers […] not ownership diversity for the benefit of producers.” Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.

This Week’s Media News

  • The UK launches the Digital Markets Unit next week, a new regulator for tech giants. The unit will be responsible for developing a code of conduct intended to improve the balance of power between big tech platforms, primarily Facebook and Google, and news publishers. A similar Australian media code was launched to both applause and skepticism from different areas of the industry, earlier this year. (Reuters/Chompsky)
  • Sports and culture site Defector has announced a groundbreaking new initiative to protect its journalists from harassment. All 23 staff, their partners, and families will gain access to a slate of protections designed to prevent online harassment and provide support during periods of attack. Protections include access to safe lodgings, proxy managers for social media accounts, and legal counsel. (AdWeek)
  • Similarly, Twitch has taken unprecedented steps to protect its users, by expanding its provisions for addressing harassment. The company says it will ban users for instances of harassment even if they don’t happen on its own site. (The Verge)|
  • An LA judge has ruled that The Daily Mail is protected by the First Amendment in its decision to publish nude and sexually graphic photos of Katie Hill, the former Democratic congresswoman. Without details of exactly why, Courthouse News reported that the judge deemed it was ‘in the public interest’. (Courthouse News)
  • Activists in cities around the world will gather this weekend to mark two years since Wikileaks whistleblower Julian Assange was arrested and imprisoned at Belmarsh, after being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London. (Assange Defense)
  • Google searches for ‘Trump’ were at their lowest since June 2015 in March, perhaps signaling that the former president’s grip on the media cycle, and public attention, may be coming to an end. (WaPo)
  • Podcast giants Gimlet Media and The Ringer have achieved a historic first step for podcast industry labour organising. They signed their first bargaining contract with Spotify this month. (The Verge)