PHILADELPHIA — A U.S. appeals court has ordered the
Federal Communications Commission
to review new federal rules on media ownership.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, based in Philadelphia, also kept a stay in effect blocking any implementation of the changes until the agency acts on the request.
The FCC had issued several changes to the media ownership rules last June, lifting a ban on a company owning both a newspaper and TV station or radio outlet in a single market. It also eased rules so that, in many cases, a media company could own two TV stations in a single market.
When the changes were proposed last year, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said the ownership limits needed to be relaxed in order to help broadcasters compete with pay TV and satellite TV services. But the changes proved to be controversial and there has been growing public pressure to reexamine the rule changes.
Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns WRAL-TV, opposed that plan, claiming it would limit diversity by allowing big companies to have more control over what you watch.
Following the announcement of the ruling, FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps released a statement to the press which approved of the ruling:
"We have now heard from the American people, Congress, and the courts. The rush to media consolidation approved by the FCC last June was wrong as a matter of law and policy. We must rediscover our respect for core values of localism, diversity, and competition. We must protect and work to expand the multiplicity of voices and choices that support our marketplace of ideas and that sustain American democracy and creativity."