The fate of long-standing rules limiting what outlets media companies may own rests with federal regulators who are considering whether the restrictions should be retained.
Following Congress' wishes, the Federal Communications Commission Thursday began a broad review of its media ownership rules.A 1996 telecommunications law that eased some media ownership restrictions required the FCC to consider whether the limits should be eliminated, changed or kept the same given the competitive state of the media marketplace.
Among the provisions up for review was a nearly 25-year-old rule that forbids a company from owning a TV station and a newspaper in the same market. However, the FCC has the power to waive this and other media ownership rules and has done so over the years.
The newspaper-TV cross-ownership rule aims to protect diversity of news and information and to prevent excessive media ownership concentration.
Republicans in Congress want the provision scrapped and have offered legislation to do it. In the past, the Clinton administration has opposed such efforts, but it hasn't weighed in recently.
The National Association of Broadcasters and the Newspaper Association of America want the rule eliminated, saying it is no longer warranted, given the explosive growth of news and other information available through cable and the Internet.