Supreme Court won’t hear media ownership case

The U.S. Supreme Court effectively put an end to the latest efforts to change federal rules pertaining to media ownership restrictions.

The court declined to hear an appeal from media companies of a lower court ruling that threw out FCC rules loosening restrictions on the number of media outlets one company could own in a single market and how much of a national market one TV broadcaster could reach.

Two years ago, the FCC voted along party lines to adopt less restrictive media ownership rules after reviewing a report that found increased concentration would not fundamentally restrict the number of voices in a community, but in some cases would strengthen weaker outlets that otherwise faced the possibility of shuttering.

However, interest groups from the left and the right, grassroots organizations, politicians and even two members of the commission worked to derail the new rules.

The Supreme Court put to rest an effort from large media companies to revive a looser media ownership structure.

Calling the court’s decision “a rare victory of the public over some of the powerful corporations in America,” Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said the FCC “better get it right this time” as it reconsiders media ownership rules. Any new rules must not let “a handful of media giants” dominate the public discourse.

For his part, Chairman Kevin Martin said he is “looking forward” to working with fellow commissioners to craft new rules consistent with judicial guidance and statutory obligations.

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