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Rep. Demings’ Media Legislation Passes House

July 22, 2021
Press Release

ORLANDO, FL – This week, Rep. Demings’ resolution calling for increased diversity in American media was passed by the House of Representatives. The resolution is H.Res.277.

Co-leading the resolution are Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) in the House of Representatives, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in the U.S. Senate.

Said Rep. Demings, “From movies and television, to music and theater, to newspapers and the evening news, we are a stronger country when every story has a chance to shine. Our nation is made great by the incredible range of people who comprise the American experience.

“By highlighting diverse stories, we lift up the true wealth of America: our people. This resolution tells every child in America that their story matters, and that our media industry has a place for them, no matter their race, gender, family name, or ZIP code.

“I am proud that the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed our resolution, and I thank all of the cosponsors and supporters who helped move this bill forward. I am eager to continue our work to support diversity in media and continue to paint the full portrait of America.”

Background

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. 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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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