Monday, July 2, 2012

UPDATE: High Court Won't Hear Media Cross-Ownership Rules Case

Seal of the United States Federal Communicatio... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The U.S. Supreme Court last week without comment denied certiorari in the case of National Association of Broadcasters v. FCC (Docket No. 11-698), disappointing media outlets that sought to end restrictions on same-market ownership of television stations and newspapers.

Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ordered the Federal Communications Commission to revise its media ownership rules after holding an FCC rule change in 2007 had run afoul of the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") [5 U.S.C. sec. 551]. (See "TUOL" post 7/8/11.)

In 2007, the FCC tried to ease the three-decade-plus-old ban on cross-ownership of television stations and newspapers in the same market by a media company by permitting cross-ownership in the nation's 20 largest media markets provided that at least eight media outlets existed in the market to compete against such a multi-media company. The proscribed cross-ownership continued, however, after the Third Circuit found the FCC non-compliant with the APA, much to the chagrin of broadcasters who lamented that such ownership restrictions are an anachronism in the Internet age and unfair because other media platforms, such as satellite and cable, are exempt from the restrictions.

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