Val Demings’ Media Diversity Legislation Passes Committee

Yesterday, Representative Val Demings’ resolution calling for increased diversity in American media was reviewed and passed by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, bringing it one step closer to law. The resolution reaffirms Congress’ commitment to increasing media diversity. It also pledges Congress to work with media entities and diverse stakeholders to develop common-ground solutions to eliminate barriers to media diversity.

“America is the greatest country in the world, and we can realize our exceptionalism when America’s greatness is accessible to everyone,” said Rep. Demings. “At a time when America feels more divided than ever, now is the time to promote a diversity of artistic voices and journalistic enterprises, to ensure that every American has the opportunity to have their stories told, their songs sung, and their experiences valued. Who tells the story matters.”

This is the latest development on an issue Rep. Demings has been very involved. In July 2019, Rep. Demings hosted the inaugural Media Diversity Innovation Summit on Capitol Hill. In the 115th Congress, Rep. Demings introduced H.Res. 888 to reaffirm Congress’ commitment to media diversity and convened a panel discussion which solicited expert testimony from stakeholders and media professionals. Last year, Rep. Demings formed the Media Diversity Congressional Brain Trust to support efforts to access and expand opportunities for professionals of color in the media industry.

“The media must reflect our nation’s great diversity so we can ensure historically marginalized communities have a voice. Rep. Demings’ resolution reaffirms our commitment to media diversity, and I thank her for her great leadership in pushing this forward to the House floor,” said Chairman Frank Pallone.

The resolution expresses that “an informed and engaged electorate is critical to a vibrant democracy is deeply rooted in our laws of free speech and underpins the virtues on which we established our Constitution,” and that “having independent, diverse, and local media that provide exposure to a broad range of viewpoints and the ability to contribute to the political debate is central to sustaining that informed engagement.”

Co-leading the resolution is Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) in the U.S. House, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in the U.S. Senate.

50 years after the Kerner Report said that ‘‘the painful process of readjustment that is required of the American news media must begin now,” the industry continues to struggle with efforts to diversify. The resolution reaffirms that with increasing media experience and sophistication, it is even more important to have minority participation in local media to strengthen social cohesion among different communities and build understanding on important community issues that impact residents’ daily lives.

“I want to thank Chairman Pallone for his support to move this legislation towards the floor, and look forward to a vote of the full House,” Rep. Demings added.


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