Press Release: Chicago Media Activists Praise Philadelphia Court Ruling Against Controversial Media Ownership Rules

Posted by Mitchell - June 24, 2004 (entry 203)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 24, 2004 Contact: Mitchell Szczepanczyk, Chicago Media Action; Daytime phone: 1-773-753-0818, evening phone: 1-773-947-8471


Organizers with the media activist group Chicago Media Action praised the June 24 court ruling the which overturned the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) controversial media ownership rules.

"This is an extraordinary development. When these rule changes were first announced in October 2002, we never thought we could win wide popular awareness, an emergency court order, and now an outright victory in court. The rules went from over-and-done to being well-done," said James Owens, an organizer with Chicago Media Action who has been active on FCC issues.

These rules, had they been implemented, would have permitted a single company within a single market to own a monopoly newspaper, an internet service provider, up to three TV stations, and up to eight radio stations. Activists and citizens nationwide decried the possible consequences which would have followed, which would include marked decreases in media diversity, localism in coverage, and quality journalism, and considerable increases in commercialism.

Chicago has a stake to these national rules primarily with its connection to the Tribune Company. "The Tribune had lobbied furiously to implement these media ownership changes, particularly the cross-ownership rule preventing a single company from owning a TV station and a newspaper in one market. The Tribune stood to gain a pretty penny with this rule's repeal, but perhaps more importantly the Tribune currently violates the rule in at least four major markets, including New York and Los Angeles," said Stephen Macek, an assistant professor of Speech Communication at North Central College in Naperville.

Chicago Media Action has been involved with a variety of FCC-related efforts, including helping organize the Midwest Forum on Media Ownership, organizing protests against FCC chair Michael Powell when he visited Chicago, and a protest-turned-celebration at Tribune Plaza on September 4, 2003 -- the date the media ownership rules would have gone into effect. Most recently, a convoy of Chicago activists drove 950 miles from Chicago to Rapid City, South Dakota, to attend an official FCC hearing on localism in media on May 26, 2004.

For more information: (Chicago Media Action organizers are also available for interviews.)

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this website are those of the individual members of Chicago Media Action who authored them, and not necessarily those of the entire membership of Chicago Media Action, nor of Chicago Media Action as an organization.

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