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BTL:Critics Charge FCC Media Deregulation Will Strengthen Monopolies While...

...Weakening Democracy. Interview with Danny Schechter, journalist and author, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Critics Charge FCC Media Deregulation Will Strengthen Monopolies While Weakening Democracy

Interview with Danny Schechter, journalist and author, conducted by Scott Harris

In a historic June 2nd vote, the Federal Communications Commission, chaired by Bush administration appointee Michael Powell (and son of Secretary of State Colin Powell), abandoned regulations in force for several decades which had restricted the concentration of ownership of the nation's print and broadcast media outlets. In a party line 3 to 2 vote, the Republican-dominated Commission put in place new regulations that will allow a company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, a daily newspaper and a cable TV provider in the nation's largest cities. The new rules will also permit national networks to own TV stations that reach 45 percent of U.S. households, up from 35 percent.

Chairman Powell maintained that the most sweeping media deregulation in a generation will promote diversity, localism and competition. But a bipartisan coalition of media activists, consumer groups and members of Congress charge that these new rules will have an opposite effect by creating ever-larger monopolies which will limit the diversity of viewpoints and undermine local programming. In response to what many viewed as an undemocratic process leading up to this vote, a grassroots media democracy movement was born, inspiring court challenges and federal legislation seeking to overturn the FCC rules changes.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with journalist and author Danny Schechter, who, over the last four decades, has worked for both corporate and independent media outlets. He assesses the effect FCC deregulation will have on our democracy and the movement now organizing to take back the public airwaves.

Danny Schechter is executive producer at Globalvision. His latest book, "Media Wars," examines U.S. media coverage of the war against terrorism. Visit Schechter's media watch Web site at: www.mediachannel.org

Related links

Statement of FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, June 2, 2003. "A Dark Storm Cloud is Looming Over the Future of the American Media..."

Media Reform's website, the coalition organizing opposition to FCC deregulation: www.mediareform.org

"Opponents Organize Resistance to FCC Rules Change That Will Strengthen Media Monopolies," Between The Lines interview with John Nichols, Nation magazine columnist, Week Ending 5/30/03

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