Judges postpone media-ownership decision


How high a hurdle the Federal Communications Commission must clear to retain
media-ownership rules will be decided at a later date, federal judges said
Friday in a partial victory for the commission.

The court also upheld its decision to vacate the ban on cross-ownership of
cable and broadcast properties in the same market.

The FCC appealed a Feb. 19 ruling by the Federal Appeals Court in
Washington, D.C., that appeared to set a nearly impossible standard for
complying with a congressional order to review all ownership rules every two
years and to repeal or modify those no longer necessary to serve the public

The court said Friday that it would leave open whether retained rules must be
"indispensable" to protect the public interest or simply serve as "useful"
safeguards. The level of justification required has not been fully briefed
before the court, the judges said.

The FCC was seeking the less stringent standard.