The Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from letting companies own larger shares of the nation’s television market. After the vote, the committee’s Republican chairman said he believed President Bush would not veto the measure despite an earlier threat.
Meanwhile, consumer groups petitioned the FCC to abandon the new regulations, saying they resulted from a flawed decision that denied the public a chance to comment.
“We hope to put the final nail in the coffin of these ill-considered rules,” said Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America. “The FCC can’t be trusted to promote competition and diversity among media outlets.”
These latest attacks came a day after a federal appeals court in Philadelphia temporarily blocked the regulations from going into effect as scheduled on Thursday.
In June, the Republican-dominated FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to ease decades-old restrictions governing ownership of newspapers and television and radio stations. The changes included allowing a single company to own TV stations reaching nearly half the nation’s viewers and combinations of newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same area.