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FCC Could Disband Free Press

The Federal Communications Commission will likely pass regulations in the coming months that would disband any notion of a free and independent press in the US, warned FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. These regulations would allow media monopolies to control the press by relaxing current rules governing media ownership.

Current rules “limit a single corporation from dominating a local TV market; from merging a community’s TV stations and newspapers into one voice; from merging two major TV networks; and from controlling more than 35 percent of TV households in the nation,” Copps wrote in an editorial in The Nation. However, under the new regulations, these rules would be removed or significantly altered – clearing the way for five or six media-giants to eventually control the press.

With the number of women-owned and minority-owned media outlets already declining, this would not bode well for independent media outlets such as Ms. magazine. “There will be absolutely no chance for women or people of color to own without approval of five or six giants,” Jeff Chester, director of the Center for Digital Democracy told Ms. magazine.

The FCC announced in December that there would be a public hearing on the proposed regulations in Richmond, VA in February. Further details have yet to be provided.

Sources:

The Nation 2/3/03; Center for Digital Democracy 1/15/03; FCC News Release 12/4/02

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