Relaxation of Old Rules Needed in Internet Era, May Says
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today’s decision by the Federal Communications Commission to update its media ownership rules is long overdue, given the huge changes in the media landscape, according to Randolph J. May, a senior fellow and director of Communications Policy Studies at The Progress & Freedom Foundation. He says rampant channel and Web surfing and the proliferation of many different information sources in recent years proves the marketplace does a good job keeping news and information diverse and plentiful at the local and national levels.
The former communications attorney and FCC official, who was at the agency when some of the rules were passed, issued the following statement following the 3-2 vote on Monday:
“Today the FCC took long overdue steps to relax its outdated media ownership restrictions. There are now vastly more media outlets and sources of news and information than there were when the rules were adopted 30 or 40 years ago. These rules were put in place before 85 percent of the American households subscribed to 300-channel cable and satellite television systems and before the Internet revolutionized information dissemination. At the time the rules were put in place, ‘channel surfing’ had not entered our lexicon, and ‘surfing the web’ was not even a dream.
“The steps the FCC took today are fairly modest, but at least they point communications policy in the right direction: an environment in which the government will play a somewhat reduced role in dictating who can own media outlets, and the free marketplace a somewhat greater role.”
Making use of some of the many news and information outlets, May has been on CNNfn, CNN, NPR and the Web in recent days making the case for the FCC reforms.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the impact of the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1993.