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Clyburn Remarks on Discussion of Critical Information Needs

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Released: June 26, 2012
Remarks by Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn

Public Discussion of Literature Review of Critical Information Needs of the American

Public and Market Entry Barriers

June 26, 2012
Good morning, everyone. First alIow me express how encouraged I am by the interest in
today's discussion, which addresses both the critical information needs of the American public as
well as market entry barriers. At first glance, these issues may appear somewhat unrelated, but
as will be affimed during this morning's exchange, they are tightly entwined. I am grateful for
the incredible work submitted by scholars under the direction of the University of Southern
California’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, and would be remiss if I did
not thank Chairman Genachowski for his support of this study.
Today marks an important step for the FCC, as we attempt to fulfill our statutory mandate
to promote policies favoring a diversity of media voices, vigorous economic competition,
technological advancement, and promotion of the public interest, convenience, and necessity, in
addition to identifying and eliminating market entry barriers for small businesses. This study
begins the charting of a course to a more effective delivery of necessary information to all
citizens. It holds the promise of enabling them to live safer and healthier lives by highlighting
any challenges and exploring a host of opportunities for full access to educational, employment,
information and business opportunities in addition to empowering them in their civic
involvement. This literature review brings together disparate studies in order to produce a
holistic overview of the ownership-employment-content relationship as it relates to the impact of
women and minority participation in ensuring that all groups have their critical information
needs met.
This study reaffirms what I have long championed – that the FCC must devote more
attention to meeting the critical information needs of all Americans by breaking down barriers
and thus paving the way for new opportunities. The Commission must emphatically insist that
we leave no American behind when it comes to meeting the information needs of those in varied
and vibrant communities of our nation – be they native born, immigrant, disabled, non-English
speaking, low-income, or other. Should another natural or man-made disaster occur, no one
should be at risk of missing vital information, nor should they ever be denied a chance at
meaningful and fulfilling employment, or enfranchisement. When we fail to insist that the
critical information needs of all Americans are met, we send a message to those un-served or
underserved communities, unintended or not, that they are not worth as much as those
communities whose information needs are fully met. This further fuels alienation and isolation.
To reaffirm, today we will discuss whether there are correlations between the ownership
of enterprises owned by women, minorities and underrepresented groups to the production and
distribution of critical information needs. Diverse voices often bring with them diverse ideas on
how to reach diverse communities, and the study highlights this, through its first
recommendation that FCC should devote greater attention to the barrier of under-representation
of some groups in media ownership and employment.

It follows that recommendation by admonishing the Commission to recognize that the
costs of network exclusion are borne not only by the excluded, but by the society at large, and
increases exponentially with the continued growth and expansion of information and
communication networks in our society. My office has continuously fought hard to drive this
point home in all of the work that the Commission does, and I am eminently pleased to see that
the importance of our message has been recognized in this report.
Two final points: First, I wish to make a plea that this agency and my fellow
Commissioners continue the often arduous but always worthwhile endeavor of collecting vital
data like we have here before us today, and that we use this data to inform our relevant
policymaking decisions with the ultimate goal of ensuring that the information marketplace is
one that serves all our our citizens optimally. And two, I must thank all of you for making this
day one of my best at the Commission.
You are driven, purposed-filled thought-leaders, who are invested in and committed to
this worthwhile effort. Dean Wilson, or as one of my staffers calls him, "The Oracle", has a
long, rich history on these issues and is the perfect captain for this ship. Mark Lloyd, you are
incredible, and along with Tom Reed and many others here on whom I rely for guidance, please
know how enriched we all are by your contributitions to this dialogue and our mission and duty
to serve. Thank you.

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