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Telemundo Opposes Univision

Breaking its silence, Telemundo, the nation’s No. 2 Spanish- language media company, has announced that it opposes the merger between two of its largest competitors in Hispanic media, Univision and Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. [IMGCAP(1)]

NBC-owned Telemundo, which had muted its opposition for months, made its opposition clear in a meeting with Federal Communication Commission officials two weeks ago as the commission closed in on final approval of the $2.4 billion deal.

The merger, which would combine the largest Hispanic television and radio station owners, would damage competition in the marketplace, officials at NBC and Telemundo told FCC officials.

Bob Okun and William LeBeau, the top lobbyist and regulatory attorney, respectively, for NBC, also told the FCC that Spanish-language media should be viewed as a separate market from the English-speaking U.S. media.

By that standard, a combined Univision

and Hispanic Broadcasting would be an industry giant with the ability to jack up prices on consumers and boost rates for Spanish-speaking advertisers.

Not surprisingly, Univision has urged the FCC to view the merger as a combination of two of the smaller players in the overall U.S. media market.

“The reality is that there is one media market and that we are competing directly for viewers and advertising dollars with all networks,” said Stephanie Pillersdorf, Univision spokeswoman.

The Justice Department has endorsed the deal, and the FCC is expected to sign off on the merger this month.

Pushing for Peace. A new organization billing itself as the nation’s “pro-Palestinian, pro-peace” lobbying organization has set up shop near the Watergate.

The American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights has two distinct missions: lobbying and education.

The lobbying arm will aim to shape U.S. foreign policy to help Palestinian nation- building and human rights. The educational side will provide information to the public, the media and the nongovernmental organization community.

Already, the organization’s Web site, americansforpalestine.org, has a media center with in-house news analysis of current developments in the peace process and media clippings.

The organization’s founder and president, George Naggiar, is a graduate of Georgetown University Law School, where he specialized in human rights international law.

“I started studying this case, and I found that it was a whole-scale denial of human rights for the Palestinian people,” Naggiar said of his law school experience that helped spark his interest in founding the organization.

“Being at Georgetown [Law School], just three blocks from Capitol Hill, I was studying what was going on at the Capitol and I found that there wasn’t adequate representation for the Palestinian point of view,” he said.

For the next six months, Naggiar’s focus will be building the organization, mainly hiring staff. After fellow Hoya and co-founder Clayton Swisher left to work on a book once the organization was officially formed, the AAPER is currently composed of just Naggiar.

But Naggiar has high hopes and said he realizes it will take time to develop the organization. In the meantime, he will push the pro-Palestinian, pro-peace message through the organization’s current framework.

“The bulk of the work is just going to be laying of the informational groundwork for future legislative work,” Naggiar said.

From NYC to D.C., Via Albany. The New York City Parks Association has hired the D.C. lobbying outfit of an Albany-based law firm to represent it on Capitol Hill.

The lead powerbroker on the case is Todd Howe, president of WHO Government Solutions, the D.C. lobbying arm for the firm Whiteman Osterman & Hannah. Howe and his team will also represent the New York State Health Care Providers organization.

Howe served under former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

WHO represents a number of New York interests in D.C., including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, RoundAbout Theatre, the Jamaica Hospital in Queens and the Empire Housing and Development Corp. in Syracuse.

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