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WASHINGTON — On Wednesday night, the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals denied the FCC’s request for the entire court to reconsider its September decision on media ownership, which overturned the agency’s dismantling of longstanding broadcast-ownership limits.

The decision not to rehear the case en banc is yet another victory for the coalition of media-justice groups, including Free Press, that challenged the Trump FCC’s ownership rulings for their failure to address the impact of deregulation on race and gender diversity in broadcasting.

The agency’s neglect of its obligation to promote localism, diversity and competition has led to a wave of media consolidation as giant broadcast owners attempt to further expand their hold on local radio and television stations via mergers and the use of shell companies.

In the September ruling, the judges characterized the FCC’s paltry effort to analyze the lack of ownership diversity as “so insubstantial that it would receive a failing grade in any introductory statistics class.”

Free Press Vice President of Strategy and Senior Counsel Jessica J. González made the following statement:

“The court’s rejection of the Trump FCC's rehearing request is a welcome setback to broadcast-industry efforts to pave a path to greater media consolidation.

“FCC leadership has linked arms with the broadcast lobby to this end, and against any accountability for the shameful lack of ownership diversity in U.S. media. In particular the agency has refused to examine how media consolidation impacts ownership opportunities for women and people of color, in favor of gutting media-ownership limits.

“If only the Commission had committed the time and energy expended in these legal shenanigans to actually doing its job. Had it studied the impact of its rule changes on ownership opportunities for women and people of color, we'd have a factual and principled record upon which to do reasoned policymaking to advance the public interest.

“The FCC needs to take the hint: Instead of wasting everyone’s time, it must undertake the court’s mandate in earnest.”

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