FCC to Hold Hearing on Media Ownership

FCC will consider whether ownership restrictions are outdated.

by / January 24, 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators are inviting the public to a hearing next month on a government review of rules that limit ownership of newspapers and radio and television stations.

The FCC said Thursday the hearing will be held in Richmond, Va., on Feb. 27.

"The FCC is asking the public to offer comments on how the agency can develop broadcast ownership rules that provide citizens with viewpoints from a diversity of sources and enhance the marketplace of ideas," the agency said in a statement.

The commission is studying whether decades-old media ownership restrictions are appropriate in a market altered by the growth of the Internet, satellite broadcasts and cable television.

Media companies say outdated regulations restrict their ability to grow and stay competitive.

Critics warn that mergers resulting from looser rules could leave a few huge companies in control of what people watch, hear and read.

Analysts say FCC Chairman Michael Powell and the two other Republicans on the five-member commission are intent on loosening regulations. Powell has said he wants rules that are supported by research and able to survive legal challenges.

Michael Copps, one of the commission's two Democrats, has called for nationwide hearings to discuss the matter.

The FCC has said it expects the review and any potential rule changes to be completed by spring.