Opponents Organize Resistance to FCC Rules Change That Will Strengthen Media Monopolies
Interview with John Nichols, Washington correspondent with The Nation, conducted by Scott Harris
The Federal Communications Commission, chaired by Bush administration appointee Michael Powell, is set to further deregulate rules governing the concentration of ownership of the nation's print and broadcast media outlets. Specifically Powell, and his Republican Party majority on the five-member commission, plan to abandon a 1975 rule that prohibits one company from owning a newspaper and television station -- or multiple TV stations -- serving the same market.
The commission, which has scheduled a June 2 vote on these rule changes, is also expected to eliminate restrictions limiting a television network's national coverage area and concentration of ownership of local radio stations. Although Powell only scheduled one public hearing on the proposed deregulation, thousands of citizens have registered their opposition to the plan by attending nine semi-official hearings organized around the U.S. and writing Congress and the FCC.
Many predict that if implemented, the rule changes will result in an extreme transformation of the nation's media and create an ever-shrinking number of media monopolies which offer less diversity of opinion on the airwaves. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine, who takes a critical look at the deregulation plan and the broad coalition of groups that are now fighting for the democratization of the nation's media system.
Contact Media Reform Network, the coalition organizing opposition to FCC deregulation by calling (413) 585-1533 or visit their Web site at www.mediareform.net
"FCC: Public Be Damned," cowritten with professor Robert McChesney. The pair's new book titled, "Our Media, Not Theirs" is published by Seven Stories Press. Visit the Web site of professor Robert McChesney, author of the book "Rich Media, Poor Democracy,"at www.robertmcchesney.com "Holding the Line at the FCC," by Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, The Progressive, April 2003
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