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  • Volume Eight, Number Five: July 2003

    US Senate Blocks Media Concentration

    While corporate concentration of the Canadian media goes largely unchallenged, the US Senate has voted down new regulations that would promote even further corporate media mergers in that country.

    In what many media democracy activists are calling a surprise victory for freedom of the press, the senate voted overwhelmingly to reject the new rules, put forward by the Federal Communications Commission, and to re-instate the previous limits on how many television and radio stations a single corporation can own.

    The senate also restored the law that prevents a single firm from owning both newspapers and TV or radio stations in the same local market.

    Moving with unusual speed, the Senate today began the process of reversing the recent decision by federal regulators to loosen media ownership rules and enable the nation's largest newspaper and broadcasting conglomerates to grow even larger.

    A broadly bipartisan group of the Senate Commerce Committee approved legislation by voice vote to restore the earlier limits on the number of television stations a network can own. The bill would also restore most of the restrictions that have long prevented a company from owning both a newspaper and a radio station or television station in the same city.

    One provision of the bill would go beyond reinstating the previous ownership rules by forcing a number of big radio companies, including Clear Channel Communications, to divest themselves of some of their stations.


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