News Media Alliance Backs NAB Petition on Crossownership

The News Media Alliance filed comments at the FCC Thursday joining the National Association of Broadcasters in asking it to reconsider its decision to retain the newspaper-broadcast crossownership rule.

NMA said it supports NAB's petition in general, which also challenges the decision not to loosen other local ownership rules, but not surprisingly focuses on newspaper-broadcast crossownership (the American Society of News Editors and World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers are NMA members).

NMA points out that the crossownership prohibition dates to 1975. "Times have, to state the obvious, changed," it said.

So have administrations. NAB and NMA are speaking to a more receptive audience now that Republicans are in the majority. FCC chairman Ajit Pai did not support the FCC decision not to loosen the rules or eliminate the crossownership prohibition.

"Eliminating the cross-ownership ban will strengthen the local journalism upon which the media ecosystem relies, creating better content for all Americans," NMA said.

It called the FCC decision arbitrary and capricious, asserting that rather than actually re-examine the rule in the light of changed marketplace circumstances, the FCC "skated over important record evidence in order to maintain a status quo that does not serve the public interest."

"At a time when the reliability and accuracy of the media is more important than ever, the Commission should focus on proven ways to support the independent news media and to make sure that Americans receive the type of targeted, informative content that they need to participate in society. To do this, the Commission should support policies that enhance localism, such as removing the cross-ownership ban that undermines it."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.