- Taxes on some wealthy French top 100 pct of income: paper
- North Korea fires short-range missiles for two days in a row |
- Israel warns against Russian arms supply to Syria
- Shooting death of gay man rocks New York's cradle of gay rights
- Female hostage died from police bullet in New York standoff: official
US FCC head schedules vote on media ownership rule
WASHINGTON Dec 11 (Reuters) - The head of the Federal Communications Commission took another step on Tuesday towards possible plans to ease U.S. media ownership rules, scheduling a vote on the issue for next week.
Despite intense pressure from public interest groups and some lawmakers in Congress to postpone the matter, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin put it on the agenda for the commission's next meeting on Dec. 18, which was released by the agency on Tuesday evening.
A vote on the ownership rules next week could put Martin on a collision course with key lawmakers in Congress, who have pressed him to take more time to study the issue and get public input.
Martin has proposed changes to the rules that would relax the FCC's long-standing cross-ownership ban in the 20 biggest U.S. cities. Existing FCC rules restrict media cross-ownership and ban ownership of a newspaper and a TV or radio station in the same market, unless the FCC grants a waiver.
The changes are likely to pass with the support of the other two Republican commissioners, Deborah Taylor Tate and Robert McDowell, sources at the agency have said.
However, consumer groups and the two Democratic commissioners on the FCC have expressed reservations about easing ownership rules, fearing more consolidation in the industry would eliminate independent voices and degrade local news coverage.
Critics of Martin's proposal also argue that the rule change would make it easier to get the ownership restrictions waived in smaller markets outside the top 20.
On Nov. 30 the commissioners narrowly approved an order temporarily waiving the ownership restrictions for media group Tribune Co TRB.N, allowing the company to proceed with its planned leveraged buy-out.
The FCC chairman's proposal has triggered criticism from some lawmakers. The Senate is considering a bill that would impose a 6-month delay on the FCC in deciding on the ownership issue.
Also on the agenda for next week's meeting is a proposal by Martin that could limit the size U.S. cable operators are allowed reach on a nationwide basis.
That measure would bar cable operators from owning systems that have more than a 30-percent share of U.S. multichannel video subscribers, sources have said.
Martin also scheduled a vote on a move to study the growing use of "embedded" advertisements on TV and whether the agency should impose stricter disclosure requirements on them.
"I believe it is important for consumers to know when someone is trying to sell them something," Martin said in reference to the issue during a Sept. 20 speech. (Editing by Jan Dahinten)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this