US Senate Blocks Media
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.