A group of key senators is urging the Federal Communications Commission to keep rules in place against media conglomerates owning television stations, radio stations and newspapers in the same major broadcast market. Sen. Bernie Sanders has voiced concern that increased concentration of news outlets limits the public’s access to unbiased information about important issues. The commission may vote soon to waive its own rule against cross-ownership in the nation’s top-20 markets.
Sanders and eight other senators raised objections in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genaschowski.
The proposed changes are similar to policy changes that the FCC adopted in 2008 that were overturned last year by a federal appeals court. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals told the FCC that it could not move forward with new rules without first studying the impact on women and minorities of any change in the rule.
The letter circulated by Sanders also was signed by Sens. Patrick Leahy, Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, Patty Murray, Ron Wyden, Al Franken, Jon Tester, and Jeff Merkley. Sen. Maria Cantwell sent a separate letter to the FCC also urging it not to relax its rules.