High court won't consider FCC media ownership rules
By Jasmin Melvin and James Vicini
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Friday rejected challenges to the Federal Communication Commission's U.S. media-ownership rules, longtime limits on cross-ownership of a newspaper and a broadcast outlet in a single market
The justices refused to hear appeals by Media General Inc, by broadcast and newspaper groups and by a broadcasting trade group arguing that the Supreme Court should reconsider past precedents that broadcast "scarcity" justified the ownership restrictions under the Constitution's First Amendment.
At issue before the Supreme Court was the FCC's loosening of some of its rules in 2008. Media owners challenged the rules on the grounds the FCC failed to go far enough to lift ownership caps.
A U.S. appeals court based in Philadelphia a year ago left most of the 2008 order intact, along with the FCC's authority to preserve media competition. That was a setback for proponents of fewer ownership restrictions, such as the National Association of Broadcasters.
The association appealed to the Supreme Court. The FCC opposed the appeal, saying the appeals court correctly upheld the local television ownership rule implementing a long-standing policy of limiting the number of licenses in a local market that a single entity may own or control.
The FCC narrowly approved a loosening of its three-decade-old restrictions on ownership of a newspaper and a broadcast outlet in the 20 biggest U.S. cities.
A number of broadcast and newspaper groups separately appealed to the Supreme Court. They included the Tribune Co, News Corp's Fox television, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Clear Channel Communications Inc and the Newspaper Association of America.
They argued that the so-called "scarcity doctrine" involving the broadcast industry dating back to a 1969 Supreme Court decision should be overruled, invalidating the FCC's media ownership rules. Continued...