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Business News (more headlines) 07-17-2003

FCC Commissioners Copps And Adelstein Call For Vote On Stay And Reconsideration Of Media Concentration Proposals

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Washington Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein today formally sought a stay of the Commission's June 2nd decision to loosen its media concentration safeguards. In a letter to Chairman Michael Powell, the two Commissioners requested a vote on a temporary stay to allow the Commission time to obtain concrete public input on the effect of the rule changes and to allow the people's elected representatives in Congress to debate media consolidation. The Commission's procedures provide for such an action on the Commission's own motion. In addition, the Commissioners sought expeditious resolution of any petitions for reconsideration that are filed once the public has the opportunity to understand the implications of the rule changes.

"This is an extraordinary proceeding that affects our very democracy. Two million citizens contacted the FCC to express their concern about increasing media concentration. Yet, the citizens of this country saw the changes to our media ownership rules for the first time just a few days ago because the Commission did not publicly disclose the specific rule changes prior to voting on the decision. The public now has its first real opportunity to ascertain how these rules interact and to examine how collectively they might affect various markets over time. A temporary stay would provide time for the Commission to consider petitions for reconsideration to protect against unforeseen and negative consequences."

"A stay would also allow the people's elected representatives to complete their deliberations on media concentration before irreversible consolidation occurs. Before the Commission even released its decision, Congress undertook strong bipartisan efforts to roll back the Commission's 3-2 vote. In light of the real possibility that Congress will reverse the Commission's vote to loosen its media ownership limits, we believe the Commission should defer to the people's elected representatives and stay its decision."

"When the Commission is considering significant changes that could unalterably remake our media landscape for years to come, we believe it is prudent to have a transparent process that ensures we understand the full implications of our decisions."

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