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WASHINGTON – On Thursday, Gannett announced a $1.5 billion purchase of TV-station owner Belo. The deal would further consolidate the local TV market and make Gannett the nation’s fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates. The deal would put Gannett in control of both the daily newspaper and broadcast stations in Louisville, Ky., and Phoenix, Ariz., combinations that are currently prohibited under Federal Communications Commission rules.

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

"We've seen time and again that media consolidation means fewer journalists and less diversity on the public airwaves. Broadcasters are on a shopping spree, using cash from last year's political ad bonanza to buy each other. Very soon just a small handful of companies will control all of the affiliates in major markets and the swing states. This increasing concentration of ownership — coupled with covert consolidation that combines formerly competing newsrooms — is failing local communities. And yet the FCC continues to keep its head in the sand. We don’t need yet another media merger; we need strong ownership rules that protect and promote local journalism."


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