Common Cause Urges FCC to Conduct Careful, Independent Study Before Relaxing Media Ownership Rules

The Federal Communications Commission is right to delay plans to relax its rules on media consolidation, but before acting at all it should conduct a careful and independent study of how new rules would impact levels of broadcast ownership by women, African-Americans and other minorities, Common Cause said today.

“I am pleased by the FCC’s decision to delay action but troubled by the process it is following as it considers these critical changes to its ownership rules,” said Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner who now serves as special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative.

“The broadcast industry suffers from abysmal levels of minority and female ownership,” Copps said. “To ensure that new rules don’t make things worse, the FCC should be driving the research process itself, setting the parameters and teeing up the questions needed to satisfy anti-discrimination requirements set by the courts and guarantee an independent and data-driven outcome.”