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Six Years After The March, Black TV Reporters First Appear

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Black Woman's School Project Opened Door For Suppressed News

WASHINGTON - EntSun -- On Saturday we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington but it appears that then there were no African American reporters permitted on TV to describe it.

That did not occur until some six years later when a major TV station in D.C. was forced to open its airwaves to African American reporters, apparently for the first time, and as the result of an amazingly successful law school project, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

On receiving this Petition to Deny, the Commission delayed renewal of the TV license until it decided whether to hold a hearing on its license renewal application for the 3-year period.

Also is response to the legal petition, this TV station - apparently for the first time anywhere - permitted a Black reporter to appear on the air. it also doubled the number of the station's executive employees (to 2), and took other responsive steps, says Banzhaf.

This unusual legal maneuver was conceived shortly after a remarkable African American lawyer, Jean Camper Cahn, arrived at the George Washington University to establish and direct its Urban Law Institute; an organization within its law school to use law as a powerful tool and weapon to fight for and establish the rights of urban (largely Black) residents.

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There she met Prof. Banzhaf, who had just used a somewhat different FCC legal petition to have the agency require radio and TV stations to make hundreds of millions of dollars worth of broadcast time available free for antismoking warning messages; an FCC decision which eventually also put an end to all cigarette commercials.

Based upon Banzhaf's experience, Prof Cahn seized on the strategy of challenging broadcast licenses to force stations to stop discriminating against African Americans, and picked out one (which was probably no worse than the others) as a test case.

The license to permit people to broadcast on the very limited number of TV channels available in major cities is incredibly valuable, and owner are reluctant to risk not having it renewed, even if that risk has historically been very low, Banzhaf explained.

So a Black law student at the Institute and Banzhaf were dispatched to visit with top African American leaders in the D.C. area to persuade them to sign the legal petition to the FCC. The importance Blacks attached to this effort is indicated by the many leaders who readily agreed to join.

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Remarkably, some 6 years after King's inspiring speec even in a city which was largely Black, African Americans were forced to get their evening and late-night news from reporters who were all White and might have a different perspective.

http://banzhaf.net/ (https://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001L7_KSe2_44ReqODReO75iPxwH-qRi4RAAuR-yQetTvvj4309IU7ywGD3IlH0ceD_XgcDfWgcJSoUzAOKH9GCjsXneLxfqxS_Fq6mY-k3fT00hwWh88TM0-8ZJGocuYcuBbmPkm_F0mI=&c=ZeOfaYn0wsc06f4z5Dn1Atm--6Rat8Vgl4P185Ylu0McuxSuEKk2PQ==&ch=U8A5v2dku...)  jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com  @profbanzhaf

GW Law

Source: Public Interest Law Professor John Banzhaf

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