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Syracuse University professor applauds Senate Appropriations block of FCC’s regulations
Syracuse University professor applauds Senate Appropriations block of FCC’s regulationsSeptember 10, 2003Amy Schmitzaemehrin@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s Hubert W. Brown, associate professor of broadcast journalism in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, commends the recent Senate Appropriations Committee decision to include a provision in their spending measure that will in effect eliminate the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new media ownership rules. The provision prevents the FCC from spending money that would allow networks to buy stations that reach 45 percent of the nation’s television viewers, up from 35 percent.
“The Senate Appropriations Committee’s rejection of the FCC’s relaxed media ownership cap shows that the efforts of special interest groups of all kinds are beginning to have an impact,” says Brown. “Whether the Commission’s efforts to allow big media to get even bigger will finally be turned back remains to be seen. But groups of all political stripes are apparently united in one fear: that allowing already huge corporations to get even bigger will reduce their already-slim chances of access to the airwaves to zero.”
Brown congratulates the Senate Appropriations Committee for coming largely to a consensus on this crucial issue. Twenty-eight of the 29 committee members supported the decision. The provision is scheduled for full Senate review later in the year.
“Perhaps the politicians in Washington are beginning to see that the FCC’s actions are a step too far,” continues Brown. “Clearly they see the handwriting on the wall–the new rules could eventually marginalize the politicians themselves. For small media outlets that work in rural and other small communities, the importance of this provision cannot be overstated. “Not only will it help combat media monopolies, it also may initiate more careful monitoring of large media outlets.”
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