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Copyright 2002
of America

NAA Urges Repeal of Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban

In response to a notice of proposed rulemaking issued by the Federal Communications Commission, NAA filed extensive comments urging the FCC to repeal the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban. The Association pointed to the approximately 41 cross-owned properties, a majority of which have been in existence for the last twenty-five years, as prime examples of why the FCC’s ban is outdated and unnecessary in today’s diverse mass media marketplace.

As it has done in several previous FCC filings, NAA pointed to the vast changes in the media marketplace that have occurred over the last quarter of a century, as well as the actions of the FCC in relaxing or repealing other ownership regulations, as ample reason for the FCC to repeal the ban. NAA demonstrated that cross-owned properties lead to significant efficiencies and operational synergies that greatly benefit consumers and advertisers. As a result the "public interest," which the FCC is concerned about, is served.

NAA also argued that the congressionally mandated biennial review and administrative law coupled with little-to-no evidence of a substantial problem, dictated that the FCC must repeal the restriction. Finally, continuing the ban raises serious First Amendment concerns as it flatly bans a form of speech by local newspaper publishers alone, while allowing essentially all other media owners the freedom to operate broadcast stations in the local community.

While more than 1300 comments were filed with the FCC, a majority were in response to a campaign by the Center for Digital Democracy, which encouraged submission of short pre-drafted comments urging the retention of the ban. A vast majority of the substantive comments supported repealing the ban.

Full text of NAA's comments submitted December 3, 2001

Full text of NAA's comments submitted February 15, 2002

For further information contact Molly Hemsley, NAA's director of government affairs and legislative counsel.