Legislation and Regulation

Corporate Power at the FCC


When the Federal Communications Commission decides on June 2 whether to dramatically loosen restrictions on media ownership, it will be relying largely on analyses based on proprietary databases not freely available to the public. Why is the Bush Administration's FCC so determined to keep key data from the public? This question is explored by one of several new studies from the Center for Public Integrity, probing the depths of corporate power's influence over FCC perceptions, metrics and decisionmaking. The Center has also created a new online database tracking ownership of broadcast stations nationwide.

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June 2: Decisive Date in Media Ownership Battle


On June 2, the FCC plans to vote on whether to "relax" the rules for owning American news media. Despite unprecedented public opposition to additional deregulation, as well as bipartisan Congressional pressure for greater transparency, FCC chair Michael Powell has refused to reveal the specifics of his proposed changes until after the vote.

If the Commission decides to allow further media concentration, the resulting stampede of mergers would give a shrinking handful of large corporations much greater influence over what is reported--or ignored--in the news. The general public?s ability to have open, informed discussion with a wide variety of viewpoints would be compromised.

A healthy democracy is best served by a diverse marketplace of ideas. Tell Congress and the FCC to preserve current media ownership rules for the sake of competition and diversity.

[ Free Press ]
[ Media Access Project ]

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Comment: Retain the Cross-Ownership Ban


Jonathan Lawson

before the Federal Communications Commission Field Hearing on Media Consolidation
Durham, North Carolina, March 31, 2003

Good afternoon. I

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Look who's standing up to big media

Local media magnates will join activists at an FCC hearing to oppose deregulation

by Fiona Morgan, The Independent Weekly
March 26, 2003

This summer, leaders in Washington will make a decision that will affect everything you see, hear and read. You probably haven't heard about it--most Americans

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The fate of our media hangs in the balance

by Greg Bloom, The Chronicle (Duke University)
March 28, 2003

Most Americans are completely unaware of an impending decision that will decide the fate of our media for decades. An equally distressing majority of people are unaware that a decisive moment in this process will occur right here at Duke.

This Monday,

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Public Comments Overwhelmingly Support Media Diversity

Public Comments Overwhelmingly Support Media Diversity

Fewer than one percent of public comments received by the FCC support loosening media ownership restrictions; the vast majority of comments were submitted by individual citizens opposed to deregulation. This has been confirmed by a survey conducted by the Future of Music Coalition and Free Press, tabulating all comments available on the FCC website. "Reading the comments in this docket has been both inspiring and disheartening," said FMC's Director of Research Kristin Thomson. "Many citizens express a growing dissatisfaction with the trends in their local media, and insist that the FCC show a genuine commitment to localism, competition and diversity. But it's also frustrating to know that, even with the vast majority of comments expressing decisive opposition to the rule changes, citizens' voices seem to be falling on deaf ears."

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Seattle FCC Hearing 2003: Listen Now!


[Note: recordings of Seattle's Nov. 2006 FCC Hearing can be found here.]

March 7, 2003's Seattle FCC Hearing on media ownership and the companion event Shaping the Media Landscape of Seattle attracted a participating audience of around 350. Over 800 turned out that evening for The Future of Media: Action for Media Democracy. The overwhelmingly anti-consolidation character of public comments is making a strong impression on FCC decisionmakers, and may turn the tide of this debate as hearings continue. Listen now to streaming recordings from these Media Democracy events on Seattle.

From the FCC Hearings on Media Ownership:
* General Introduction from Commissioners Copps and Adelstein (download)
* Panel 1: Effects of Consolidation on News (download)
* Panel 2: Effects of Consolidation on Music and Radio (download)
* Panel 3: Effects of Consolidation on Localism (download)
* Public Comments (download)

From Shaping the Media Landscape in Seattle:
* Networks in the Information Age panel

From The Future of Media: Action for Media Democracy:
* Congressman Jim McDermott's comments

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Local media on Seattle FCC Hearing

Backing, hisses for media consolidation

By Todd Bishop, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (March 8)

Media executives and a passionate crowd of media consumers gathered in Seattle yesterday to discuss the prospect of big companies amassing even larger collections of TV stations, radio stations

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Media Monopolies: A Threat to American Democracy (AFL-CIO Resolution)

The Executive Council of the AFL-CIO, on a motion by Screen Actors Guild President Melissa Gilbert, adopted a resolution urging the FCC to keep media ownership regulation.

Media Monopolies: A Threat to American Democracy

"It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace

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Seattle City Council Resolution

A RESOLUTION in support of diversity in media ownership.

WHEREAS, freedom of the press and public access to diverse media are prerequisites for a functioning democracy; and

WHEREAS, the broadcast airwaves are owned commonly by the public, and should be managed to serve the public interest; and


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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey