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Consumer Victory: Appeals Court rejects lax media ownership rules

Campaign Launched Telling President Bush to Shift Course on Media Ownership Rules in Wake of Court Decision
Consumers Union Heads Web Campaign Urging Swift Action by Administration

Thursday, June 24, 2004
Susan Herold (202) 462-6262
(Washington, D.C.) – Consumers Union is launching a nationwide campaign to ensure the Bush Administration follows through with today’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision that overturns most of the Federal Communications Commission’s lax media ownership rules and requires diversity and competition in the nation’s media.
“The American people, the Congress, and now the courts have said that competition, localism and democratic dialogue must exist in our nation’s media,” said Gene Kimmelman, public policy director for Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. “Now we have to ensure that the Bush Administration shifts course and attempts to ensure that the most important sources of news and information cannot be controlled by a handful of giant companies.
Consumers Union is spearheading a letter-writing campaign to President Bush and the FCC demanding it respond swiftly and effectively to the court’s decision by writing rules that ensure diversity and competition in the media. Send a free e-mail to the President and the FCC demanding sensible and reasonable media ownership rules that will help ensure diversity, localism and competition in the nation’s media.
The appeals court rejected the commission’s rule allowing cross-ownership of newspapers and television stations in most markets, and also rejected the market analysis that would have allowed one company to own two or three TV stations in most markets, describing them as “absurd.”
“The court’s ruling clearly demonstrates that it rejects the desire of the Bush Administration and FCC Chairman Michael Powell to let large media companies dominate and grow even larger,” Kimmelman said.
Added Mark Cooper, CFA director of research: “The FCC has now had the two most important rules affecting the structure of mass communications in America overturned. It’s time for the commission to rethink its radical effort to allow large media corporations to completely dominate the media landscape.” Both CU and CFA were interveners in the court case.
“With the help of the millions of Americans concerned about the corporatization of their local media,” Kimmelman added, “we will continue to push the Administration to do what the people want, and not what the big media giants want, when it comes to an issue so important to our democratic values.”

Send a free email on media ownership to the President and the FCC.