Saturday, June 26, 2004

On the other hand, this is good news, no bit about it

It wasn't a shutout, but it was damn close.
New York (AP, June 24) - A federal appeals court on Thursday largely reversed a landmark set of rule changes from the Federal Communications Commission that would have allowed companies to own more radio and television stations in the same market.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia marked a major setback to the FCC's efforts to deregulate media ownership rules and a victory for public interest groups that had opposed the measures. ...

The court also kept in place an order it made last September blocking the rules from taking effect. ...

"This is a big, big win for diversity," said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, CEO of the Media Access Project, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest law firm that led the lawsuit against the FCC.
FCC Chair Michael "I Love Monopolies" Powell of course groused that the court was interfering with the agency's ability to advance the interests of corpora - er, the public, of course, the public - but
Gene Kimmelman, senior public policy director for Consumers Union, one of the plaintiffs, called the Third Circuit court's ruling "a complete repudiation of rules that would allow one or two media giants to dominate the most important sources of local news and information in almost every community in America."
Footnote: Just to be clear, this had to do with ownership in a single market. The national limit on broadcast ownership, which now stands at 39% (after the FCC tried to push it from 35% to 45%) - that is, no one owner can own so many radio or TV stations that their total potential audience exceeds 39% of the population - are a separate issue.

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