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Freedom of the Press in the Age of Fake News
September 9, 2017 @ 10:15 am - 11:45 am EDT
Sinclair Broadcasting, The FCC and Citizen Action
September 9, 2017 at the Charles E. Miller Library, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042 from 10:15 am to 11:45 am.
“Freedom of the Press in the Age of Fake News: Sinclair Broadcasting, the FCC and Citizen Action” is a panel discussion at the Miller Library in Ellicott City on Sat., Sept. 9 from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. It is free, open to the public, and will include coffee and snacks.
Sponsored by the Ellicott City Huddle, the event will raise awareness about challenges to the free press in the current political climate, and it will detail how citizens can take action to help defend independent journalism from corporate and political influence. Panelists are Brandon Forester of Free Press, and Pallavi Guha of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
Pallavi Guha from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland will explain the foundations of press freedom in the U.S. Bill of Rights and the development of corporate influence in media. She will share her perspective on the challenges for the journalism profession amid accusations of “fake news.”
Brandon Forester from Free Press will discuss the organization’s action against Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which is awaiting FCC approval to merge with Tribune Media, a $3.9 billion purchase which will result in the company controlling an unprecedented 200 local television stations across the United States.
Sinclair Broadcasting Groups is headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and is the largest owner of local TV news stations across the United States, including WBFF FOX Channel 45 in Baltimore and WJLA ABC Channel 7 in Wash. D.C. Sinclair’s purchase of Tribune media, facilitated through de-regulation by President Trump’s new FCC chairman, and its requirement that its stations air “must-run” conservative commentary by Trump surrogates during local TV newscasts violate time-honored practices of independent, non-partisan local TV news. Both liberals and conservatives alike have expressed opposition to the Sinclair-Tribune merger and its conservative news slant. HBO’s John Oliver ridiculed Sinclair on his show on July 2, 2017, and Sinclair has been strongly criticized by other networks and news organizations, including scathing stories in The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, and The Washington Post.
The role of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will also be explored. After brief presentations, attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and share concerns.
The Ellicott City Huddle is a local outgrowth of the Women’s March. Its mission is to encourage, empower and engage our community in positive, inclusive sustained political activity. For information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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