Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

The U.S.A. Faces Wave of Media Mergers and Unprecedented Consolidation if FCC Relaxes Media Ownership Rules

May 19, 2003
Story
WATCH FULL SHOW

FCC Chairman Michael Powell last week refused to delay the upcoming June 2nd vote on media ownership rules. Critics say relaxed rules will lead to more mergers, leaving a few huge companies in control of what people see, hear and read.

Democratic FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein had requested a delay so they can evaluate the impact of the rules and reach a possible compromise.

But Powell said he would not grant the request because it is not backed by the majority on the FCC. (Powell is the son of Secretary of State General Colin Powell.)

So now, the FCC will go ahead and vote on the rules on June 2nd.

The rules have not even been made public ? Powell also refused the dissident commissioner?s request to release the rules so the public can debate them.

Still, some things are known about the upcoming vote.

Under the expected changes, for the first time ever broadcasters will be allowed to own television stations that reach more than 35 per cent of the country; own a newspaper and broadcast outlet in the same market; and the four largest TV networks will be free to merge.

That means that a single CEO could theoretically own all of the largest media outlets in the country.

Analysts say if the revised rules are passed, the US will see a wave of media mergers and consolidation that is unprecedented in the country?s history.

Major media conglomerates such as AOL Time Warner, General Electric, Disney and Viacom, and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. are all lobbying for the changes.

Media activists have organized a series of public hearings on the issue, the next one is this Wednesday in Atlanta.

  • Juan Gonzalez, co-host, Democracy Now! and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists
  • Seeta Pena Gangadharan, media activist who has been working on FCC deregulation issues since the passing of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. She recently co-founded the Center for International Media Action.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.