Friday, July 08, 2011

 

Appeals court ruling against FCC may boost Hawaii Media Council complaint against TV stations


by Larry Geller

Thursday, in a stunning upset,  the 3rd Circuit Court of appeals overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to weaken media ownership rules. The court struck down rules that would have permitted a single company to own a newspaper and a broadcast outlet in a single market. This is the second time that a court has countered the FCC’s attempt to loosen the rules that restrict media consolidation.

The lawsuit was filed by the Philadelphia based organization Prometheus Radio Project. For details see today’s Democracy Now segment Victory for Media Diversity: Court Strikes Down FCC’s Attempt to Relax Media Ownership Rules (7/8/2011).

The Court’s ruling has clear implications for the Hawaii Media Council complaint against the merger of Honolulu TV stations KHNL, KFVE, and KGMB. (Also short article here with docs).

According to HMC president Chris Conybeare:

This is a great decision for consumers and it affects our complaint in that it affirms the current rules against duopoly ownership on which our complaint is based. It does not, however open any new avenues for us.  Our complaint also incorporates the public policy argument that concentrated media ownership acts to limit ownership by women and minorities, another strong part of the 3d Circuit's decision.

Incidentally, our attorneys Angela Campbell and Adrienne Biddings were also counsel in the 3d Circuit case and are to be congratulated for their excellent legal work in the public interest.

The FCC has not said when it will rule on the HMC complaint, nor has it acted on three separate complaints filed when three of us, acting as individuals, could not access the public files of the three stations.

 




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