Two days after the September 11th attacks, the FCC announced it would review the laws that prevent media companies from owning a cable station and a broadcast station in the same market. The current regulations, which have been developed over the past 50 years, also prevent media companies from owning a broadcast station and a daily newspaper in the same market.
Giant media companies like AOL Time Warner, Viacom (CBS), News Corp. (Fox) and GE (NBC) contend current FCC rules restrict their corporate "First Amendment" rights. The Center for Digital Democracy, a site devoted to enhancing public understanding of the expanding role of digital media, says media companies are interested in easing FCC rules because cable TV is a unique point of control for Internet broadband service.
Allowing media companies to monopolize the delivery of information as the Internet evolves into a broadband system could mean rate hikes for cable TV and high-speed Internet services, the CDD cautions. Thus, in turn, would widen the digital divide and hamper the free flow of information so important to a robust democracy.
To get a better idea of how far-reaching the grasp of media conglomerates extends already, check out the Columbia Journalism Review's 'Who Owns What' site. The site, which features a list of companies and their media holdings, makes it plain to see that playing the game of media monopoly is easy if the rules can be changed. Go there>>