Media Deregulation Takes a Troubling Hit
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<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273
Washington, D.C., September 4, 2003—In an unfortunate setback for free market reform, a federal court has stopped the implementation of new rules on media ownership that were slated to take effect today. The Federal Communications Commission’s revised limits on how many media outlets individual companies are allowed to own in a single media market will now be delayed while a court rules on whether they should be permanently implemented.
“While this decision is only a temporary stay and not on the merits of the case, it will create far-reaching uncertainty for the media companies regulated by the ownership rules, slowing down content creation and innovation that will ultimately hurt consumers,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Technology Counsel Braden Cox.
The FCC rules currently being considered were the product, in part, of recent federal court rulings requiring the Commission to revise its previous regulations on ownership. “Ironically, we have one court requiring the maintenance of old rules that were previously found unjustified by a different court. It’s clear that any law that attempts to regulate media ownership in a fast changing technological environment will be arbitrary, similar to drawing a line in the sand during a sandstorm,” said Cox.
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