Written by Anthony Moujaes
The United Church of Christ Office of Communication, Inc. is going all out to mark 50 years of media accountability, celebrating the Rev. Everett Parker's historic and groundbreaking petition to the Federal Communications Commission that lead to greater responsibility in public broadcasting.
O.C., Inc., has invited Tom Wheeler, who chairs the FCC, to deliver the 32nd annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture at the 2014 Parker Lecture and Breakfast.
The event will celebrate Parker's work that ensured media accuracy and fairness to the American public, particularly during the Civil Rights Movement.
The Parker Lecture, scheduled for Oct. 7, is held each year by the UCC's Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.) to recognize individuals for their impact in ethical broadcasting. This year’s program will take place at the Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism in Washington D.C., and will be live-streamed at www.newseum.org.
Wheeler became the 31st chairman of the FCC in November 2013. For more than three decades, he has been involved with new telecommunications networks and services, experiencing the revolution in telecommunications as a policy expert, an advocate and a businessman. Wheeler is the only person selected to both the Cable Television Hall of Fame and The Wireless Hall of Fame.
Parker’s petition to the FCC challenged the broadcasting license of WLBT-TV in Jackson, Miss., for its failure to serve the public interest, most notably in its coverage of that city’s African American residents. Parker’s petition ultimately established the right of individuals to intervene in matters before the FCC.
The Newseum, which opened in 1997, is exhibiting a three-year display of the media coverage of the Civil Rights Movement titled "Civil Rights at 50." Newseum’s focus is to raise public awareness of the important role of a free press in a democratic society.
The 2014 Parker Lecture and Breakfast will also honor Makani Themba, executive director of The Praxis Project, and Catherine J.K. Sandoval, a commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission, for their pioneering work in the field of media justice.
The Parker Lecture was created in 1982 to recognize the Rev. Dr. Everett C. Parker, founder of OC, Inc., and his work as an advocate for public rights in broadcasting. The event is the only lecture in the country to examine telecommunications in the digital age from an ethical perspective.
OC, Inc. is the media justice arm of the United Church of Christ, founded in 1959. Since its founding, OC, Inc. has worked to ensure that women, minorities and low-income persons have equal access to ownership, production, employment and decision making in media.