Court Overturns Media Ownership Rules: A Victory!

CauseNET for June 24, 2004

With the help of all of you who care deeply about diverse and dynamic media in America, we have landed a decisive blow in beating back the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

A federal court on Thursday ordered the FCC to redo many of the controversial media ownership rules it passed last June.  In addition, the court strongly criticized the agency's methods for arriving at its conclusions in justifying increased media concentration.  Under the ruling, the FCC will have to revisit the legal framework it operated under, and begin its deliberations anew.

We will work to encourage the FCC to conduct a more public and inclusive process than it did last June as it considers any new rule changes.  Last year, the FCC held only one official public hearing in Richmond, Virginia and did not make public the proposed rule changes until shortly before it voted on them.  The public had very little time to review the rules and provide input.

The court's decision offers a stinging rebuke to the FCC's disregard for public participation in the rulemaking process, and underscores the importance of true media diversity.  It also gives us another chance to work for real reform and to oppose media concentration as the FCC reconsiders its ruling under the courtís new direction. 

Earlier this week, in another victory for media reform, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) won approval for an amendment to a defense authorization bill that would completely repeal the June 2nd rules. Common Cause and other reform groups will be working to make sure that the amendment is not stripped out of the defense department authorization bill when the House and Senate meet in conference to resolve the difference on their respective defense bills.