Supreme Court to Tackle Media Ownership Case

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a challenge to the FCC’s efforts to loosen its rules that limit media ownership.

The high court on Friday said it would take on the case brought by Philadelphia-based Prometheus Radio Project, a collection of low-power radio stations. Prometheus and others are challenging the FCC’s rollback on the grounds that the commission has not given sufficient consideration to how such moves will impact broadcast station ownership by women and minorities.

The FCC has been fighting in court over its media ownership rules for 17 years, through Republican and Democratic administrations. Most recently, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last September vacated the FCC’s changes, saying the commission had not properly defined some of the terms. The decision had the effect of reinstating rules that limit the ownership of newspapers and TV stations in the same market, and mandates that limit on the number of TV and radio stations that a single entity can own in the same market.

The National Association of Broadcasters and most of the largest TV station groups are siding with the FCC in pushing for an overhaul, arguing that the rules put undue burden on broadcasters at a time when they face tougher competition than ever from largely unregulated competitors.

More to come

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