Washington (DC) – Congressman Al Green (TX-09) expressed today his strong support for minority-owned newspapers and broadcasting companies that are struggling to maintain their operations due to the scarcity of advertising and financing options in the midst of the current economic situation.
“We must remember the great importance of the press. It is a critical component to ensure that our nation has a fair and open democracy. In the case of minority-owned media outlets, they are also essential because they work with smaller communities that sometimes are not covered in great detail in the mainstream media,” said the Congressman.
Green commented that, according to the information that his office and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have received in recent months, a significant number of African American-owned newspapers are decreasing page counts and laying-off staff to reduce costs and avoid ending their operations. He added that many banks are denying African American newspapers adequate loans and lines of credit.
“I think one of the options to resolve this situation would allow the Department of Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the financial regulatory agencies to establish a fund or modify an existing fund to set aside loans or loans guarantees for minority business, including newspapers and broadcasting operations,” noted the Congressman.
Congressman Green also considered the need for a change in the way the Federal government advertises with minority-owned media. “The GAO has reported that from 2001 to 2005 the government devoted only 5 percent of its $ 4.3 billion advertising-related expenditures with these companies,” he concluded.