On Thursday February 4, I gave my presentation over the Federal Communications Commission, how they control and regulate the media, and how they shape media laws and policies. Specifically, I focused on what current issues the FCC is facing, and where it is headed for the future. I browsed a few articles to get other scholarly opinions on the FCC, but the main sources I used in my research were the official FCC website, http://www.fcc.gov/, and the textbook, Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology. Both of these sources had great information on the FCC.
In introducing the FCC to the class, I began with presenting a brief history and background of the FCC, and discussed what exactly they do within the media industry. I also briefly covered the history of the First Amendment (freedom of speech, press, etc.) as it is the fundamental piece of legislation that backs up all current and future laws and policies on media. I went on to discuss the goals of the FCC, and some of the current issues they are facing today. One of the biggest issues the FCC is currently dealing with is working to regulate the competition in the market after the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. I also focused on controversies that the FCC has faced in recent years.
Out of the discussions questions that were raised during/after my presentation, the one I found most interesting and contemplated the most was , ‘Who controls more of the media - Private institutions or the government?’. This was a very relevant question even in the beginning stages of this project when I was researching my topic. I believe that the government (and organizations within it such as the FCC) definitely controls more aspects of the media. Even though private institutions make most decisions within their company, the government will always control how the content displayed in some way. No media company will ever be able to have free reign of the industry, and that’s what this question really made me realize.
I encourage you all to check out the FCC website, and particularly the ‘Reboot’ page http://reboot.fcc.gov/ - there’s lots of interesting blog posts and stories on how the FCC is changing and improving. I think this is really relevant to the class, especially since we also use a blog to post ideas!