Dorgan introduces Senate bill to reverse FCC Ownership ruling

[from office of Senator Dorgan]

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) is moving quickly to stop the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from implementing rules that would result in more media consolidation and fewer choices for consumers.

The ruling by the FCC would allow newspapers to buy television stations in the top 20 markets and has also opened a gaping loophole for mergers in smaller communities across the country, according to Dorgan.

Dorgan is introducing a resolution of disapproval in the Senate, which prevents the FCC from implementing new rules allowing companies to own and dominate the programming for both a community s newspaper and broadcast station. Despite the fact that the Senate Commerce Committee had unanimously reported out the Media Ownership Act of 2007, which said the FCC should delay this vote until the agency knew more about the effects on localism and diversity of station ownership, the FCC still moved forward with its vote.

Our nation is best served when we have access to a variety of media sources, said Dorgan. Smaller and independent media outlets across the country provide local news that simply would not exist if large media conglomerates continue their consolidation efforts.

This is not the first time Senator Dorgan has fought efforts to give more properties to the big media owners. When the FCC voted to allow more consolidation in 2003, Senators Dorgan and Lott passed a similar Resolution of Disapproval in the Senate to overturn the rule.

Dorgan is concerned that by voting to allow cross-ownership on December 18, the FCC has ignored the thousands of comments at public hearings held around the country, all opposed to any further consolidation.

With these new rules, the FCC just chooses to overlook research which shows that local news coverage and media diversity would be harmed, Dorgan said.

The legislation has 13 co-sponsors including Senators Snowe, Kerry, Collins, Dodd, Obama, Harkin, Clinton, Cantwell, Biden, Reed, Feinstein, Sanders, and Tester.

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