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FCC Eyes Supreme Court for Media Ownership Dereg Case

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—The FCC wants to take their case regarding new media ownership deregulations all the way to the Supreme Court as the Solicitor General of the U.S. has officially asked the court to review the decision of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals that rejected many of the commission’s efforts.

The media deregulation efforts on the table would eliminate newspaper-broadcast and the radio-TV cross-ownership rules; allow dual station ownership in markets with fewer than eight independent voices on a case-by-case basis; eliminate attribution of joint sales agreement as ownership; and create a diversity incubator program, as well as other diversity mechanisms, per the FCC.

In September 2019, a Third Circuit Court panel denied these proposals and sent them back to the FCC to be modified, saying they “did not adequately consider the effect its sweeping rule changes will have on ownership of broadcast media by women and racial minorities.” The FCC attempted to have the entire Third Circuit Court hear its case, but that was rejected by the court as well.

The FCC argues that these decisions are not allowing it to fulfill the mandate it has from Congress to repeal or modify any rules that are no longer in the public interest. Going to the Supreme Court is the last legal option available to the FCC.

“The Supreme Court’s intervention is necessary to restore the commission’s discretion to regulate in the public interest and modernize media ownership regulation for the digital age, as Congress intended,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement.