FCC Petitions Court To Rehear Media Ownership Case

By: Bethany Patterson

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filed a petition for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the media ownership case Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC

In September, the Third Circuit panel vacated most of the FCC’s updates to its media ownership rules. These updates included the elimination of the FCC’s newspaper-broadcast cross ownership and radio-television cross-ownership rules in 2017. 

These rules were eliminated to allow for greater competition and innovation in the media marketplace. With the rise of the internet and social media, the FCC’s old rules, which were created in the 1970s, became outdated and particularly harmful for local news sources.

“FCC rules preventing cross-ownership, the number of stations that can be owned in a market, and preventing joint sales agreements no longer make sense,” Digital Liberty executive director Katie McAuliffe wrote

Ever since the Third Circuit’s decision came out in September, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioners Mike O’Rielly and Brendan Carr have expressed the desire for further legal review on the matter. 

“For more than twenty years, Congress has instructed the Federal Communications Commission to review its media ownership regulations and revise or repeal those rules that are no longer necessary,” Chairman Pai said in a statement. “But for the last fifteen years, a majority of the same Third Circuit panel has taken that authority for themselves, blocking any attempt to modernize these regulations to match the obvious realities of the modern media marketplace.”

This petition continues the FCC’s deregulatory efforts to promote innovation and free-market principles.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)