WASHINGTON (May 13, 2010) --

Hundreds of community groups and local residents from across the country urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week to strengthen local democracy, media diversity and public safety by supporting the nation's largest network of community-based media organizations -- Public, Educational and Government (PEG) Access cable TV centers. "As local newspapers close, media companies consolidate, and national broadcasters dominate radio & television, PEG Access centers are increasingly the only source of community news, civic programming, diverse views and local emergency information," said Alliance for Communications Democracy (ACD) President Rob Brading of MetroEast Community Media in Gresham, Oregon.

As the FCC takes the pulse on media in America with its Future of Media proceeding, ACD, a 22-year-old coalition of local media groups, sounded the alarm that the FCC must take decisive action today to ensure that tomorrow's media landscape includes local voices and community access to media infrastructure. ACD called on the FCC to enforce laws that prevent cable and video giants from discriminating against local PEG channels. ACD specifically urged the FCC to take action against AT&T's U-verse cable system that degrades PEG quality and functionality. "There is a very real threat to our democratic institutions and way of life if there is not a sufficiently broad range of opinions expressed in the media and there is no practical means by which the average citizen can participate in the public dialogue." said Dr. Laura Linder, a professor of communication at Marist College in New York. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski launched the Future of Media proceeding "to assess whether all Americans have access to vibrant, diverse sources of news and information that will enable them to enrich their lives, their communities and our democracy."

The Chairman's call for comments was a met by outpouring of voices describing how the nation's 3,000 PEG Access centers are critical to local democracy and civic participation in communities nationwide. ### ALLIANCE FOR COMMUNICATIONS DEMOCRACY