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Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers

WASHINGTON - Free Press has joined Common Cause, Communications Workers of America and the Office of Communication, Inc. of the United Church of Christ to file suit against FCC efforts to repeal local media ownership limits.

The petition for review, just filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, explains that the agency has failed to consider the impact of its decisions on localism, diversity and competition in broadcast ownership.

In particular, the petitioners highlight recent FCC decisions to relax cross-ownership and local television limits and its decisions not to properly account for stations' use of Joint Sales Agreements and Shared Services Agreements (JSAs and SSAs) to evade ownership limits.

The filing comes as the FCC is weighing the Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed takeover of Tribune Media, which would give Sinclair a broadcast reach far in excess of congressional and FCC limits on national and local media ownership.

"The Pai FCC is a gift to the broadcast industry, as the commission bends over backwards to give favors to massive media conglomerates like Sinclair," says
Free Press Deputy Director and Senior Counsel Jessica J. González.

"What's more, the FCC is attempting to ram through this deregulation without doing its homework. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has directed the agency - three times - to examine how its media ownership rule changes impact broadcast ownership diversity. Shamefully, and in direct violation of the court's orders, no proper evaluation has occurred.

"Meanwhile, people of color own a pathetically low number of broadcast stations in the U.S., and consolidation makes it much more difficult for broadcasters of color to enter the market. This latest move by the Pai FCC is patently discriminatory.

"In effect, our filing says enough is enough to an agency that keeps failing to do its homework and fulfill its statutory mandate. This FCC seems intent on looking the other way as people in the U.S. brace for a new wave of media mergers. Runaway consolidation gouges newsrooms and hurts communities - especially marginalized communities that more often depend on broadcast TV for local news. The courts must step in to avert this impending disaster and protect the public from Pai's pro-consolidation plans."

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Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

* Trump's FCC Chair Continues To Shaft The Public, Offer Major Handouts To Big Media.

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

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See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To Fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on March 9, 2018


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