(Washington, DC) In a bipartisan 55-40 vote, the Senate today rolled
back highly contentious Federal Communications Commission rules that
would allow major media conglomerates to own an even larger percentage of the
nation's media and permit cross-ownership of newspapers and TV stations
in most communities. It is now up to House leadership to pass a similar
resolution to ensure that these relaxed rules which Senators say would
threaten media diversity and localism are not enacted by the FCC.
"The Senate today clearly re-established the principle that separate
ownership of dominant local newspapers and local broadcasters is
essential to preserve the checks and balances against media bias that our
democracy relies upon," said Gene Kimmelman, senior policy director for Consumers
Union. "It's now time for federal regulators to listen to Congress and
the public and revamp its rules to promote more competition and diversity
in local news and information."
"This vote demonstrates the power of the grassroots," said Eli Pariser,
campaign director for MoveOn.org. "In just two days last week, over
200,000 comments poured in from our members to the Senate. Between MoveOn, the
NRA, and our other allies on this issue, millions of people have contacted
Congress to voice their opposition. And now the Senate has demonstrated
that it's listening."
This Senate vote comes on the heels of a Third Circuit Court ruling
delaying implementation of the rules, a full House vote to prohibit the
FCC from spending money next year to implement some of the new ownership
rules and a vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee placing the same
House spending restrictions on the commission.
In today's debate Senator McCain committed to bring S. 1046 to the
floor for a vote, which would restore both the newspaper/broadcast
cross-ownership rule and the national broadcast cap. Bipartisan
opponents to the new FCC rule believe it is crucial to have as many opportunities
as possible to challenge the June 2nd measure.
"These victories signal the importance of diverse, independent and Our
coalition will not stop until these rules are defeated," said Josh
Silver, managing director of Free Press