The 2010 Review marks the FCC’s fourth periodic review of its ownership rules. The last two reviews in 2002 and 2006 substantially weakened the FCC’s ownership rules, despite overwhelming public opposition to further media consolidation. In its comments, Free Press demonstrates that media consolidation adversely affects both the quantity and quality of local news and information from competing sources and diverse owners. Free Press further cautions the FCC against self-serving industry arguments that more consolidation creates “efficiencies” that enable industry to improve or continue the provision of news and information to the public.
Free Press Policy Counsel Corie Wright said:
“The FCC’s media ownership rules are critical to ensuring that the public’s primary news and information sources do not become consolidated in the hands of a few companies. Moreover, the so-called efficiencies of consolidation have not materialized. Instead, the cost of consolidating has placed a number of companies that might otherwise be profitable in dire straits, resulting in disinvestment in newsgathering and job losses for journalists.
“We urge the Commission to resist industry pressures to further weaken ownership limits. Companies that have made poor business decisions should not be rewarded with permission to engage in even more media consolidation that would further injure competition and diversity among local media outlets. It is not the Commission’s job to protect industry profit margins. Rather, its role is to promulgate and enforce regulations designed to promote competition, diversity and localism so that the public interest is served.”
Link to Free Press comments in the 2010 Quadrennial Review of Ownership Rules: http://www.freepress.net/resource/comments-fp-2010-fcc-quadrennial-review-media-ownership-rules
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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Free Press does not support or oppose any candidate for public office. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net