Thursday, October 18, 2007


Thanks to our friends over at the FCC:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — The head of the Federal Communications Commission has circulated an ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city.

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the commission, wants to repeal the rule in the next two months — a plan that, if successful, would be a big victory for some executives of media conglomerates.

Among them are Samuel Zell, the Chicago investor who is seeking to complete a buyout of the Tribune Company, and Rupert Murdoch, who has lobbied against the rule for years so that he can continue controlling both The New York Post and a Fox television station in New York.

The proposal appears to have the support of a majority of the five commission members, agency officials said, although it is not clear that Mr. Martin would proceed with a sweeping deregulatory approach on a vote of 3 to 2 — something his predecessor tried without success. In interviews on Wednesday, the agency’s two Democratic members raised questions about Mr. Martin’s approach.

This is bad bad news for anyone that actually cares about free and fair press. Giving media conglomerates the ability to purchase more media market types in the same area allows for an eventual takeover of all local media in any area. This could then build to corporate control of several media markets as a whole, radio, television and newspaper. It could potentially allow for monopolies of news or other media sources. Instead of industry tycoons, this plan would allow the current media tycoons to gain more power, wealth and control of the national discourse.

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