In his letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Rep. Adriano Espaillat urges the Department of Justice to reject the merger if independent voices like Televisión Dominicana are not protected, as not taking them into consideration would have adverse and direct impacts on minority consumers and minority on- air talent.
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“I am deeply concerned about the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner and have called upon the Department of Justice to provide strict oversight during its analysis and to reject this deal,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat. “AT&T U-verse and DIRECTV have recently demonstrated their indifference to keeping independent voices and minority talent on air with its decision to remove Televisión Dominicana from its lineup, and it has become more clear than ever before that DOJ must closely scrutinize such transactions in order to protect diversity and competition within the media marketplace.
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“As the first Dominican-American elected to serve in the U.S. Congress, I take this issue very seriously. Televisión Dominicana is AT&T and DIRECTV’s only channel that services the Dominican community, the 4th largest Hispanic community in the U.S. Televisión Dominicana provides a necessary pipeline of culturally significant news and information directly from the Dominican Republic, as well as offering programming produced by Dominican-Americans in the U.S. The network plays a critical role in strengthening communities, both for immigrant families establishing new lives in the United States and Dominican-American seeking connections to their homeland. Yet, the decision to remove the program was made at the most critical time as families prepared for the impact of Hurricane Irma, leaving many in the dark during an emergency.
“I have repeatedly contacted AT&T about this matter and have received a series of unsatisfactory answers regarding Televisión Dominicana’s removal. I believe this decision directly contradicts AT&T’s commitment to protecting diverse voices and minority communities as promised during its acquisition of DIRECTV, and I urge the Department of Justice to strongly consider rejecting the recent proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner in an effort to protect independent voices like Televisión Dominicana and other stations popular within minority communities.”