A group of civil rights organizations, including the National Urban League, sent a letter to FCC Chair Tom Wheeler yesterday requesting that the Commission “hit the pause button” on the Unlock the Box proceeding and conduct a disparity study.
The groups say that the Commission should ensure the proposal will promote diversity and inclusion, and they maintain that tech industries have shown little progress in those areas. Diversity stats disclosed by large technology companies show “an astonishing lack of inclusion,” according to the letter.
“Most worrisome is that despite that disclosure and many acknowledgments of their failings, follow-up disclosures in 2015 did not show any improvement,” the letter states. “In fact, some companies reported a decrease in diversity.”
The civil rights groups want the FCC to look into whether unlocking the set-top will increase media, content and ownership diversity compared to the current system.
“Could unlocking the box result in less diversity and fewer successful minority programmers and content producers? If so, what is the projected data on the extent/size of the disparity that would result? If not, what is the projected data on the extent/size of diversity gains?” the letter asks.
The groups also request that the FCC determine more specifically what type of new opportunities or harms might result from the proposal for minority programmers and content producers.
Filed Under: Industry regulations