Today, bipartisan members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced legislation to repeal the 41 year-old rule preventing cross ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the same market. In response, David Chavern, President and CEO of the News Media Alliance, released the following statement:
“We are pleased to see solid bipartisan support for commonsense legislation that reverses an outdated rule that does more harm than good. This Nixon-Administration rule has absurdly prevented investment in newspapers that have print, while digital-only properties have been free to invest (and be invested in) without restrictions. During this time in which readers consume an increasing amount news from countless sources, and over a growing number of devices and platforms, we cannot fathom why the government would prevent collaboration between the two entities — newspapers and broadcasters — that are still investing in credible, local journalism.
Today’s show of support from both sides of the aisle to repeal the cross ownership ban demonstrates that the FCC lacked the evidence and wrongly concluded that leaving the ban in place serves the public interest. We applaud Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), and Representatives John Yarmuth (D-KY), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Pete Olson (R-TX), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Gene Green (D-TX) for their leadership to repeal this outdated rule. We call on policymakers in the Senate to follow suit with a similar bill in the 115th Congress.”
Last month the Alliance filed an appeal of the FCC’s decision to maintain the cross ownership ban. The case is News Media Alliance v. Federal Communications Commission, filed November 14, 2016, in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Alliance will also be supporting the National Association of Broadcaster’s Petition for Reconsideration of the FCC’s August media ownership order.