A drastic and potentially harmful idea has hit the media industry this week. By the end of the year the FCC may ease media ownership regulations.
For some media outlets, this could be great news and improve revenue in the industry that is a difficult one to be in just now. However we need to think of the problems that this may cause – because there are reasons why the current ownership regulations are so important.
The FCC state on their website that they work towards:
“Promoting competition, innovation, and investment in broadband services and facilities.”
I personally think that their latest decision is not doing that.
Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn of the FCC said:
“Media ownership affects every single person in this country, whether they realize it or not. Everyone digests news, some casually others voraciously. Therefore, preserving journalistic integrity and promoting a diversity of viewpoints are paramount concerns, and should remain top priorities for this agency.”
It is obvious that the FCC are aware that regulation of ownership regulation of the media is extremely important however I think that if the restrictions are loosened the above statement becomes diluted and weak – making it very hard to understand the FCC’s reasoning and also their efficiency.
However there is no need to worry yet as data collecting and evaluating is ongoing and a definite decision is still to be made.
“The Commission appears to be prepared to accept a regulatory status quo by entrenching itself into an overly-cautious, wait-and-see approach regarding the further development of new media platforms even though they have already revolutionized the market,” said Commissioner Robert M. McDowell of the FCC.
For me, and I’m sure most media enthusiasts out there, loosening regulation rules is a scary thought. In a world with already dominant ownership from the likes of conglomerates The Walt Disney Company of News Corporation it’s a wonder to think what would become of the likes of them if regulation rules were to change.
However, when looking at the development of the media industry over the past 10 years do we need to question whether regulation change may be needed? After all, many outlets are struggling after the recession. Is it a question to whether the FCC need to change the rules to keep them alive or no change is needed so that the outlets can sustain their own credibility and allow diversity within the media for society?
The question will be answered if change to regulations is made. We may see media dictatorship, or we may see a growth of good journalism come out of being able to cut costs through cross-ownership and having more revenue.
“Cries for media fairness in the United States are generally not the result of a desire to avoid or initiate revolution, but recent history warns that the various electronic media have considerable power, and control should be diversified to a multitude of responsible gatekeepers and not subject to the central choke-point that a monopoly represents,” said Brian M. Rowland in his Florida Coastal School of Law Journal.
In response to the outcry and concern over this suggestion by the FCC, Commissioner Michael J. Copps stated that:
“The world of media has fundamentally changed, but America’s ongoing historical challenge to provide its citizens with information infrastructure has not changed, nor has the responsibility of the FCC to create rules to enhance the statutory mandates of localism, competition, and diversity.”
Click here for a descriptive video about media ownership – Media Ownership Lesson