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Free Press Blasts FCC for Plans to Relax Some Media Ownership Rules

Public interest group says proposal ‘ignores the will of the courts’

Media activist group Free Press is not happy with the FCC’s plan to loosen some of its media ownership rules.

We reported the chairman has circulated to his colleagues a proposal that mirrors its 2011 proposal, to allow cross-ownership of a daily newspaper and either a radio or TV station, and eliminating outdated prohibitions on newspaper-broadcast and TV-radio cross ownership.

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron said, “Recycling the Bush administration’s failed policies not only ignores the will of the courts and Congress but is a slap in the face of the 99% of Americans who oppose further media consolidation.”

He’s referring to the fact that the proposed media ownership changes are similar to those passed under former Chairman Kevin Martin, which were later overturned on appeal.

The latest proposal promotes media diversity by retaining some of the consolidation limits, and through a number of measures that provide broadcast opportunities for small businesses, according to agency sources.

The FCC released station ownership data last week to provide support for the need for changes in the media ownership rules, showing minority and women ownership of radio stations has remain relatively stagnant since 2009.