Free Press Welcomes Delay in FCC Media Ownership Vote

But industry-backed study no substitute for independent research and agency action
Contact Info: 

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 ext. 35

WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski issued a statement supporting a delay in a controversial vote to loosen limits on how much media one company can own in a single market. The chairman reportedly agreed to the delay pending the results of a study proposed by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council — a group that has previously endorsed ending the longstanding ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:

"We are glad the FCC is backing down from its rush to relax its media ownership rules. It’s about time the FCC admitted that it does not have the evidence to take this step. However, we have serious reservations about the proposed study's ability to meet the clear demands of the federal appeals court. The enthusiasm for these studies expressed by the broadcast lobby and its close allies gives us further pause.  We are skeptical, to say the least, of a study to be conducted by an analyst that has previously endorsed the FCC’s weakening of its longstanding rules.

"We wouldn’t presume to judge any study before it is completed, but  the work of researchers with long-standing ties to the broadcast industry is no substitute for independent, peer-reviewed research. Based on our understanding of this qualitative study's methodology, however, we have serious concerns about its ability to provide useful information. And even with considerable improvements to those methods, the study's designers would have to acknowledge that it cannot provide definitive information that would satisfy the Third Circuit's directives."

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people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good