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Court stays FCC rules

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A federal court has blocked the new FCC ownership rules which were supposed to go into effect on Thursday. There still are going to be demonstrations Thursday in San Francisco, LA, DC, NYC, Chicago, and other cities protesting the new rules (see the end of this for an update on a vote in the Senate Thursday).

This ruling gives people more time to organize to get congress to permanently block them and to let Bush know that protecting media giants should not be something he uses his first veto for.

The Hollywood Reporter has a brief article (links added). I’m sure there will be more extensive info later (including this NY Times article.

FCC ownership changes on hold as court grants stay

By Brooks Boliek

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Wednesday temporarily blocked the FCC’s new media ownership rules from taking effect as scheduled on Thursday.

The three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
Philadelphia issued an emergency stay preventing the FCC from loosening ownership rules on local television and radio stations pending further proceedings.

The court said a coalition of media access groups called the Prometheus Radio Project [actually one group in the coalition] would suffer irreparable harm if the new rules were allowed to go into effect.

Andrew Jay Schwartzman, executive director of the Media Access Project, said that it was “pleased but that they knew that a lot of work was ahead of them.”

Schwartzman said that while they were encouraged by the court’s decision, they realize that it was not a slam dunk, because the court went out of its way to say that the order was granted under the “special circumstances” presented by case. Nevertheless, he said, “The tide has turned.”…

And here is an update on what is happening in congress:

From: Robert McChesney
Date Wed, 3 Sep 2003

Subject [FP] Action Alert: Crucial Senate vote on Thurs

The fight to roll back the FCC media ownership rules is far from over.
The Senate Appropriations Committee votes this Thursday evening on the rollback. Intense pressure — this time through a national phone campaign — is absolutely critical to our success. Congressional staffers say calls are highly effective.

If you are a resident of AL, CA, CO, IA, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NV, OH, PA, WI, or WV, your call is to your Senator who sits on the Committee. Your Senator’s vote could be the difference between victory and defeat.

If you are from another state, your call is to Senator Reid, the only
Democrat on the Appropriations Committee who plans to vote against the rollback.

Please go to mediareform.net/callcongress now or read on.

The Bush Administration’s FCC is on the ropes, as their attempts to
quietly relax media ownership rules and unleash monopoly mega-media on our TV, radio, and newspapers are stalling for the first time in history.

Why? Because over 2.3 million Americans spoke up against
anti-democratic media rules and led a historic effort to put media
policy into the public spotlight.

But it all comes down to a trio of key bills in the next 2 weeks. We
must continue to pressure Congress, and tell them that we are unwilling to let a handful of massive conglomerates dominate our media. Thursday’s rollback vote includes the crucial “cross-ownership” provision that prevents one conglomerate from owning the major daily newspaper plus multiple TV and radio stations in one town.

Background information and phone numbers are posted at


You can also use the list below. If you are from one of the following
states, match the Senator to your state and call the phone number
listed. If you are from a different state, call Senator Reid at (202)
224-3542. Talking points are below.

AL-Senator Shelby (202) 224-5744
CA-Senator Feinstein (202) 224-3841
CO-Senator Campbell (202) 224-5852
IA-Senator Harkin (202) 224-3254
KY-Senator McConnell (202) 224-2541
LA-Senator Landrieu (202) 224-5824
MD-Senator Mikulski (202) 224-4654
MO-Senator Bond (202) 224-5721
MS-Senator Cochran (202) 224-5054
NV-Senator Reid (202) 224-3542
OH-Senator DeWine (202) 224-2315
PA-Senator Specter (202) 224-4254
WI-Senator Kohl (202) 224-5653
WV-Senator Byrd (202) 224-3954

What to say: “I am calling to urge the Senator to vote for a rollback
of the June 2nd FCC media ownership rules that includes the
cross-ownership rule. One company should not be allowed to own a
newspaper, television stations and radio stations all in the same
community. Thank you for your time.”

Go to www.mediareform.net for more information on media reform efforts.
For the latest on Capitol Hill, check the “Reports from Washington” at

Free Press

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About Steve Rhodes

  • Eric Olsen

    you’re right on it Steve, thanks!

  • This court ruling represents serious bogosity. In the first place, if Fred wants to buy your radio station, then it is none of MY business. By rights, it is not legitimately the interest of the government at all.

    More important, it is specifically none of the court’s business. What constitutional legal justification makes this a matter for the judiciary branch of government to decide?