FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has taken the push for diversity and digital empowerment to a new level. Today, Pai revealed his intent to establish a new federal advisory committee focused expressly on the topic.
In an announcement made this morning (4/24), Pai said, “Every American should have the opportunity to participate in the communications marketplace, no matter their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”
In order to help the FCC advance that goal, Pai intends to establish the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment. This committee will be charged with providing recommendations to the FCC on empowering all Americans, Pai said.
“For example, the committee could help the FCC promote diversity in the communications industry by assisting in the establishment of an incubator program and could identify ways to combat digital redlining,” he said. “Once the paperwork to stand up the committee has been completed, the FCC will issue a Public Notice soliciting membership applications and providing additional details about the committee’s work.”
Pai’s plans were warmly received by Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who commented, “While no single initiative will solve the digital and opportunities divide, I believe that the formation of this Committee is the first of many steps the FCC can take to ensure all Americans have access to robust and affordable communications services. I look forward to working with the Committee to advance these important goals.”
The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) also took a moment to commend the FCC and Pai on the chartering of the forthcoming Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment.
The FCC’s original Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age operated from 2003-2013 — under Chairman Michael Powell, Chairman Kevin Martin, Acting Chairman Michael Copps, Chairman Julius Genachowski, and Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn. Led by Chairwoman Julia Johnson and her successor, Henry Rivera, and aided by senior FCC staff including Designated Federal Officers Jane Mago and Barbara Kreisman, the FCC Diversity Committee “produced an unprecedented four dozen policy recommendations aimed at ensuring the full participation of all Americans in technologies that comprise one-sixth of our national economy,” MMTC said.
In Las Vegas for the NAB Show, MMTC President/CEO Kim Keenan said, “By chartering a new advisory committee on diversity, and expanding its jurisdiction to encompass closing the digital divide, Chairman Pai has brought the FCC back to its historic and nonpartisan public interest mission. MMTC is especially pleased that the new committee will be charged with the tasks of developing a media incubator program as well as providing solutions to the vexing moral issue of telecom redlining. This is a defining step toward closing the digital divide for every American.”