by Latoya Peterson
The FCC is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a huge merger between Comcast and NBC Universal, which would create a new media mega-corporation. This has brought quite a bit of controversy over the future of the web, with many digital justice activists protesting the increase of corporate control over the web.
Angry Asian Man reports on an unexpected silver lining: the FCC has proposed that Comcast and NBC must improve diversity if they are going to complete the deal, to ensure minority broadcasters are not left out. According to ABC News:
Public interest groups have urged the Obama administration to reject the deal. They fear Comcast might charge other cable distributors higher fees to transmit NBC Universal-owned content, leading to higher cable bills, fewer independent programing choices and less competition.
Comcast said in agreements filed with the FCC that it would add four new cable networks either owned or partly owned by African-Americans within eight years if the deal goes through.
It would also expand an existing channel carrying Asian-American programing to more markets, or create a new English-language channel that caters to Asian-American interests.
More diversity on major networks is definitely something to celebrate, but I’m not so sure this is the major step forward as some are quick to claim.
Most of what I’ve heard about the merger has been from the net neutrality aspect. Back in August, Colorlines broke down why it was so important to keep an eye on Comcast:
The fight started because those scary scenarios about blocking and slowing traffic aren’t merely speculative. In 2005, Comcast blocked its users from sharing BitTorrents, which are popular ways to send and receive large files. The company claimed that it was preventing its users from committing copyright infringement, since the file-sharing platforms are often associated with quick and easy ways to get free music and movies. Read the Post Are We Willing to Give Up Netflix/The Open Web for Minority Focused TV?