Cross-Ownership Ban Gives Platforms Unfair Advantage

  • Danielle Coffey
  • 03.28.2017

The FCC’s cross-ownership ban prevents a newspaper and broadcast station from being co-owned in the same market.  The rule was created in 1975 to advance competition, diversity of ownership and localism.  The News Media Alliance previously submitted comments in support of the National Association of Broadcasters’ Petition for Reconsideration. The comments focused on the importance of localism and emphasized that the rule undermines, instead of advances, that goal.  Today, we again submitted comments to the FCC in support of NAB’s petition, highlighting the competition aspects of the rule and how it prevents the scale necessary for newspapers to compete against those newer platforms and producers of content that are not subject to the ban.

Today’s media markets are literally flooded with information from digital platforms.  Even the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) recognizes this shift, stating in its recent ex parte filing in support of the NAB’s Petition, that its members “must compete against the new Internet giants, such as Google and Facebook, for audience and advertising revenues.” The cross-ownership ban also prevents newspapers from receiving the investment they need to be able to compete against the social media giants, who are free to invest, acquire and merge at will.  This investment is more important now than ever because of the current phenomena surrounding “fake news.”  We strongly believe that real, reputable, and trusted news content is the true remedy to fake news.

Our members include premium publishers whose reporting demonstrates the principles of verification, accuracy and fidelity to facts.  We strongly urge the Commission to repeal the ban on cross-ownership so that newspapers can compete during this critical time.  Newsgathering and investigative reporting, which newspapers do best, is vital to a healthy democracy.

To view the comments, click here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Danielle Coffey
Danielle Coffey is Vice President of Public Policy at News Media Alliance