FCC Chair Defies Congress and The American People

December 18, 2007

Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x22

Free Press Blasts FCC Media Ownership Vote

WASHINGTON — Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to remove the longstanding “newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership” ban that prohibits a local newspaper from owning a broadcast station in the same market.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

“FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is ignoring the public will and defying the U.S. Senate. His decision to gut longstanding ownership rules shows once again how the largest media companies — with their campaign contributions and high-powered lobbyists — are corrupting the policymaking process at the expense of local news coverage and independent voices.

“Martin’s FCC relied on slanted research and a rigged process to reach today’s preordained outcome — local media wrapped in a bow for Tribune, News Corp., Gannett and all the rest.

“With these new rules, there is no doubt that the ownership diversity crisis will get worse as these companies cash in on consolidation. Expect more newsroom layoffs and less quality news coming soon to a city near you.

“Fortunately, the fight is far from over. More than two dozen senators have already vowed to throw out these new rules. And the courts won’t look too kindly on the broken and corrupt process that brought us to today’s vote.

“The public simply won’t stand for another massive giveaway. They are sick and tired of partisan shouting and celebrity trash being passed off as news. They want more choices, more variety, more diversity — not more of the same. The growing public outcry is only going to get louder.”

Read the senators’ letter to Martin: http://www.freepress.net/docs/letter_tofcc_dec18vote_121707.pdf

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