Court strikes down FCC media ownership rules

Court strikes down FCC media ownership rules

A federal appeals court struck down an effort by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to relax media ownership rules. 

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the FCC move to end a decades-long ban against one entity owning both a newspaper and TV station in a major market, citing a lack of consideration into the impacts on ownership by women and racial minorities.

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The FCC is also trying to loosen rules preventing owners from purchasing additional TV stations in the same market, local outlets from selling advertising time collectively and owners from buying radio stations in some markets, Reuters reported.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that the commission intends to dispute the ruling, saying the 3rd Circuit court has disrupted updates to the rules for 15 years. 

"It’s become quite clear that there is no evidence or reasoning — newspapers going out of business, broadcast radio struggling, broadcast TV facing stiffer competition than ever — that will persuade them to change their minds," Pai said in his statement.

The FCC voted 3-2 in 2017 to cut back on the regulations with a Republican-led commission, which Democratic lawmakers said would allow the Sinclair Broadcast Group to access 72 percent of the nation's TV viewers.