US regulators begin hearings on media ownership

The concentration of media ownership by a few large corporations came under attack as the US Federal Communications Commission opened a series of hearings on the issue, an Associated Press report said.


'Without diversity in ownership and participation, our democracy is in danger,' Rep. Maxine Waters was quoted as saying at the initial hearing held at the University of Southern California.


Waters, a Los Angeles Democrat, and others criticized ownership of the Los Angeles Times and KTLA-TV by Chicago-based Tribune, the report said.


Speakers said the situation stifled competition and diversity of local opinion.


The Associated Press report said the FCC is reconsidering a number of broadcast ownership rules, including whether a single company should be able to own both a newspaper and television station in the same market.


The last time the agency revisited the ownership rules was in 2003, when it voted 3-2 to raise the national audience cap for television station owners, lessen restrictions on how many radio and television stations a company may own in the same market and allow for cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in some instances, the report said.


Tribune is hoping the FCC will eliminate the current ban on a single company owning a newspaper and TV station in the same market.


In the meantime, the media company has asked the agency for a waiver so it can renew its broadcast license and retain ownership of both properties. The station license expires December 1, the report further said.