Week Of Victories For Media Reformers

Common Cause and other media reformers are celebrating a major victory in their efforts to undo sweeping media deregulation approved last year by the Federal Communications Commission. A federal court on Thursday told the FCC (PDF) to redo many of its new media consolidation rules, strongly criticizing (PDF) the agency’s methods for arriving at its conclusions justifying increased media concentration. The court also left in place the stay it imposed last fall preventing the implementation of the rules approved by the FCC on June 2, 2003.

“The court’s decision offers a stinging rebuke to the FCC’s stunning disregard for public participation in the rulemaking process and for the importance of true media diversity,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “This gives all of us another chance to work for real media reform and to oppose media concentration.”

Earlier this week, in another victory for media reform, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) won approval for an amendment to a defense spending bill that would completely repeal the June 2 rules. That amendment carried by voice vote in the Senate. Common Cause and other reform groups will be working to make sure that the amendment is not stripped out of the defense department authorization bill when the House and Senate meet in conference to resolve the difference on their respective defense bills.