Media Concentration No. 274
Through the Constitutional guarantee of a free press, Americans have historically had access to a rich diversity of information sources. As technology has advanced, the types of those sources have expanded and new media resources have proliferated, which now include satellite radio, and cable television, and the Internet. To maintain diversity and encourage access to a wide range of voices, regulatory limits were placed, until recently, on the ownership of media, including cross-ownership rules (the ownership of newspapers, television and radio stations in the same media market); and a cap on the number of media outlets a company could own in the same market.
Ironically, at a time when the availability of a broadening variety of media has exploded, the Federal Communications Commission, without public hearings, in a highly political series of decisions, has moved to diminish substantially the number of different voices available to the public. Recent changes in FCC rules greatly expanded the number of media outlets a single company can own; thus allowing cross-ownership of print and electronic media and increasing the potential for the concentration of ownership into the hands of only a few major corporate entities, such as Clear Channel Communication and The News Corporation.
A bipartisan group of Members of Congress, alarmed by the decision, have committed to the restoration of the previous rules through legislation.
ADA urges immediate Congressional action to restore FCC rules that encourage the broadest possible diversity in ownership of media outlets.
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