The U.S. faces wave of media mergers and unprecedented consolidation if FCC relaxes media ownership rules; Dissident FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein speaks out against media ownership deregulation; Indonesian military launches a massive attack on separatist movement in Aceh.
8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:25: The Indonesian army has launched a massive attack on separatist rebels in Aceh. Fighter jets bombed the Free Aceh Movement rebels and scores of troops began parachuting in. Some 25,000 Indonesian troops are in the region and thousands more are moving in. The military says it has moved 15 warships to the region. The Associated Press is reporting the attack is expected to be Indonesia's biggest military operation since its invasion of East Timor in 1975. Last week, peace talks in Tokyo broke down after the rebels rejected Jakarta's demands to lay down their weapons, drop their bid for independence and accept regional autonomy. President Megawati Sukarnoputri then signed a decree authorizing war in the oil- and gas-rich province and imposing martial law. The military immediately arrested five senior rebels. December s landmark peace deal is now in tatters. At least 12,000 people have been killed over the last 26 years of violence in the region. * Pratap Chatterjee, independent journalist * Dita Sari, National Front For Indonesian Workers Struggle 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:25-8:40: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell last week refused to delay the upcoming vote on media ownership rules. Democratic FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein had requested a delay so they can evaluate the impact of the rules and reach a possible compromise. But Powell said he would not grant the request because it is not backed by the majority on the FCC. (Powell is the son of Secretary of State General Colin Powell.) So now, the FCC will go ahead and vote on the rules on June 2nd. The rules have not even been made public Powell also refused the dissident commissioner s request to release the rules so the public can debate them. Still, some things are known about the upcoming vote. Under the expected changes, for the first time ever broadcasters will be allowed to own television stations that reach more than 35 per cent of the country; own a newspaper and broadcast outlet in the same market; and the four largest TV networks will be free to merge. That means that a single CEO could theoretically own all of the largest media outlets in the country. Analysts say if the revised rules are passed, the US will see a wave of media mergers and consolidation that is unprecedented in the country s history. Major media conglomerates such as AOL Time Warner, General Electric, Disney and Viacom, and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. are all lobbying for the changes. Media activists have organized a series of public hearings on the issue, the next one is this Wednesday in Atlanta. * Juan Gonzalez, co-host, Democracy Now! and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists * Seeta Pena Gangadharan, media activist who has been working on FCC deregulation issues since the passing of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. She recently co-founded the Center for International Media Action. Links: National Association of Hispanic Journalists: http://www.nahj.org/8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58: Jonathan Adelstein, one of five Commissioners on the FCC, has been attending public hearings across the country to find out the public's views about FCC media ownership rules. We listen to a speech he gave on April 26th at San Francisco City Hall at the first hearing on media ownership rules held in California. Media activists have organized a series of public hearings, the next one is this Wednesday in Atlanta. * Jonathan S. Adelstein, FCC Commissioner 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Sharif Abdul Kouddous, Ana Nogueira, Elizabeth Press with help from Noah Reibel and Vilka Tzouras. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer. Thanks also to Uri Galed, Angela Alston, Emily Kunstler, Orlando Richards, Simba Rousseau, Rafael delaUz, Gabriel Weiss, Johnny Sender, Rich Kim, Karen Ranucci, Fatima Mojadiddy, Denis Moynihan and Jenny Filipazzo.