Media Consolidation
September 03, 2003
Court Issues Stay On Media Ownership Rules!


Court Delays FCC Media Ownership Rules

Federal Appeals Court Delays Implementation of New FCC Media Ownership Rules
By the Associated Press.


A federal appeals court issued an emergency stay Wednesday delaying new Federal Communications Commission media ownership rules that would allow a single company to own newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same city.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a coalition of media access groups called the Prometheus Radio Project would suffer irreparable harm if the new rules were allowed to go into effect as scheduled Thursday.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:


Court Delays FCC Media Ownership Rules
Federal Appeals Court Delays Implementation of New FCC Media Ownership Rules

The Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA Sept. 3

A federal appeals court issued an emergency stay Wednesday delaying new Federal Communications Commission media ownership rules that would allow a single company to own newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same city.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a coalition of media access groups called the Prometheus Radio Project would suffer irreparable harm if the new rules were allowed to go into effect as scheduled Thursday.

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The new ownership rules, which the FCC approved in June on a party-line, 3-2 vote, would also allow a single company to own TV stations reaching 45 percent of the nation's viewers.

Smaller broadcasters and network affiliates are concerned the new limit will allow the networks to gobble up more stations and limit local control of programming.

An attorney for the Prometheus Project, Samuel L. Spear, praised the decision. He said his clients, who are mostly advocates of low-power community radio stations, believe their ability to broadcast will be hurt by the growth of media conglomerates.

"It just allows the big media companies to grow bigger and to monopolize the industry more," Spear said.

The ruling followed a two-hour hearing in which the attorneys for the FCC argued that the rules could go into effect as scheduled Thursday without any long-term damage to the groups fighting them.

An FCC spokesman said the agency was disappointed by the decision and would continue to defend the new rules in court.

In its brief opinion on the stay, a three-judge panel did not comment on the merits of the complaint.

"While it is difficult to predict the likelihood of success on the merits at this stage of the proceedings, these harms could outweigh the effect of a stay," the judges wrote. "Given the magnitude of this matter and the public's interest in reaching the proper resolution, a stay is warranted pending thorough and efficient judicial review."

The ownership rules face other challenges.

The National Association of Broadcasters said the changes don't go far enough. The influential industry group filed an appeal last month to block changes to how radio markets are defined and overturn rules that still prevent TV station mergers in some smaller markets.

The House, over the objections of the Bush administration, voted overwhelmingly in July to block the FCC. The Senate was to take up the issue in September.

Critics had asked the FCC to suspend the rules while it studied their impact on communities. FCC Chairman Michael Powell, one of the three Republicans who backed the new rules, had said that although the commission is examining ways to promote local programming, that issue should be addressed separately from the ownership rules.

Posted by Lisa at September 03, 2003 05:12 PM | TrackBack
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