A dollop of good news from the FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Thursday that it is backing away from further relaxation of its media cross-ownership rules.

Previous FCC Chairmen have proposed doing away with regulations that prevent a single broadcaster or publisher from dominating the local media. Common Cause opposes any relaxation of these common-sense rules that promote localism and diversity; indeed, the rules should be strengthened.

Separately, the FCC announced a review of joint sales and shared services agreements. The new initiatives will tighten, and potentially close, loopholes that broadcasters have exploited to subvert the agency’s rules.

“For too long, broadcasters have used shell games to make a mockery of media ownership rules, as the FCC looked the other way,” said Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner now serving as special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. “It’s refreshing to see Chairman Tom Wheeler taking this important first step for diversity and localism. We look forward to the FCC taking the next steps to rein in media monopolization.”

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