Washington - Mar 23, 2010 - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia lifted its stay of the Federal Communications Commission's media ownership rules and set the schedule for briefing to begin on May 17, 2010. This procedural measure puts into effect the FCC's 2008 order calling for a slight relaxation of media ownership rules, including duopoly rules and the cross-ownership of broadcast stations and newspapers in the top 20 markets.
The restriction had been in effect since a stay issued by the court in 2003. The case traces its roots to when former FCC Commissioner Michael Powell initiated a rulemaking to lift the cross-ownership ban in large media markets and raise the caps on TV and radio station ownership. Challenges from public interest groups objected, while broadcasters wanted even more restrictions. Chairman Kevin Martin was also unsuccessful at easing the rules.
Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell welcomed the court's decision to lift "burdensome ownership rules that are many years out of date."