Federal Communications Commission Roles Back Some Media Ownership Laws

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For the first time since it was established, the Federal Communications Commission will allow a single entity to own a television and newspaper. It will also be possible to own a radio station. This will mean that the decades-old rule that prevented this from happening will come to an end. The rule had been passed to ensure that a single individual or entity doesn’t have too much power in a local coverage which would be disastrous in shaping public opinion. The rule had existed in what has been known as media-ownership ban. The decision to overturn this rule came after the Federal Communication Commission voted in 3-to-2 vote to abolish it. This decision came down to voting along party lines. At the same time, the commision announced that it would be increasing the number of television stations that can be owned by a single entity in a local market. As a result, in a four stations market, a single entity can own two stations. This comes as the latest effort by the Trump administration to de-regulate everything including cable corporations, broadband as well as the media. However, this is something that was greatly opposed by the consumer advocates and Democrats who argued that the move would go against the greater consolidation of these industries.

Following a merger between Tribune Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group last April, the agency started relaxing the limits that governed television ownership. Nonetheless, there are speculations that there was foul play between Sinclair and the chairman of Federal Communications, Ajit Pai. The chairman who was appointed by Mr. Trump has on numerous occasions said that the current media ownership rules are outdated and old-fashioned. He told his opponents that times had changed and people could get news from other sources including Google and Facebook. As a result, the new rules will ensure that local stations have a chance of survival when dealing with big corporations like Google and Facebook. He has further argued that the ownership regulations of today should match the marketplace of 2017. Democrats, on the other hand, continue to insist that people who rely on local stations will be affected in a huge way. The Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn said that the FCC has passed rules that affect many businesses and consumers in the past seven months. He further emphasized that the entity was established to help Americans interests and not to hurt them. Pew Research Center insists that 57 percent of Americans receive their news from local sources.

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