FCC Makes Ownership Studies Available

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The FCC has decided to make all its media ownership staff reports and studies from the past several years available for inspection on its Web site.

The commission took some heat from the Hill last fall for media ownership studies that never saw the light of day.

The commission said in a statement Friday that, at the direction of Chairman Kevin Martin, it was making copies of "all  studies, draft or final, regarding media ownership" available for public inspection.

Martin cited the "very strong level of public interest" in the FCC's review of media ownership rules, but also made clear that the move was "solely, in an exercise of its own discretion," making the information public, although it "is legally entitled to withhold certain internal documents under the "deliberative process privilege" of the Freedom of Information Act.

The commission is reviewing its media ownership rules under orders from a federal appeals court and standing orders from Congress under a quadrennial review.

Media Access Project takes a slightly different view of the FCC's decision, saying it had sought the studies through a Freedom of Information Act request and was ready to sue if the commission did not make them public.