FCC approves new media ownership rule - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

FCC approves new media ownership rule

WASHINGTON (AP) - There's a big change in the government's rules on media ownership.

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to allow broadcasters in the nation's 20 largest media markets to also own a newspaper.

The vote overturns a ban that's been in place for 32 years.

The FCC's chairman, Kevin Martin, and his two Republican colleagues voted in favor of the proposal. The commission's two Democrats voted against it.

Martin has the support of the White House, which says it will turn back any congressional action that tries to undo today's vote.

Martin described the issue as "the most contentious and divisive" one he's had to face.

He noted the steady decline in revenue for newspapers, and said the proposal "strikes a balance" between the changing media marketplace and the need to protect diversity and competition.

Democrats accused Martin of making last-minute changes that created new ownership loopholes instead of closing them, as he had pledged to do during a recent hearing on Capitol Hill.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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