Genachowski Backs Delay in Ownership Vote
Sees MMTC study as way to resolve issues with proceeding
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/26/2013 2:55:27 PM
None of the commissioners have yet to vote the item, which MMTC requested the delay in a letter to the commission. The National Association of Broadcasters is also OK with the delay.
"The study is expected to take several weeks and will be filed with the Commission, after which MMTC suggests that the agency solicit public input, to be followed by a Commission vote. In this heavily-litigated area where a strong record is particularly important, I believe this is a sensible approach to moving forward and resolving the issues raised in this proceeding," said Genachowski in a statement.
A senior official called the approach "a strategy to move towards a successful vote and strengthen the Commission's position in court."
"The study announced yesterday addresses an issue of importance, will augment the record, and will assist the Commission in resolving the issues before it on the full record," Genachowski said.
In his statement, Genachowski conceded that the growth of the Internet and its impact on the economics of newspapers and broadcasting factored into his decision to implement "modest reforms" of the cross-ownership rules.
FCC commissioner Robert McDowell was not so high on the delay, but said he supported a prudent process so long as it was the last delay in a years-long process.
"Although I firmly believe that the record regarding the Commission's newspaper/broadcast and radio/television cross-ownership policies more than sufficiently justifies the immediate elimination of these outdated rules," he said in a statement, "I respect adhering to a prudent process that allows for the submission of the proposed Minority Media and Telecommunications Council study, along with expedient but adequate public comment. The Commission's review should be swift and sound. Not only did Congress intend for us to eliminate obsolete rules once more competition becomes evident, but it also meant for us to act with alacrity in our review. Accordingly, it is my hope that this most recent pause in our progress on this front is our last. I look forward to a substantive vote to modernize our rules by this summer."
"The study proposed by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council would provide additional information to support a data-based decision that is responsive to the Third Circuit, which directed the Commission to consider the effect of its rules on minority and female ownership," said Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. "The issues raised in the media ownership proceeding, including the promotion of journalism and viewpoint diversity, are essential to democratic discourse. The Commission benefits from acting carefully and considering all relevant materials. I look forward to reviewing the results of the study."
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