Media companies may be able to own print and broadcast media in large markets, at least for now, after a federal appeals court on Tuesday lifted its own stay on changes to the Federal Communications Commission’s media cross-ownership rules, The Associated Press reported.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia (3rd Cir.) originally ordered the stay in 2003 after advocacy and media groups sued over then-FCC chairman Michael Powell’s plan to relax cross-ownership restrictions. The court told Powell’s successor, Kevin Martin, to re-write the rules. When he relaxed the restrictions in larger markets, more lawsuits were filed.
The FCC asked for time to reconsider its own rules but will likely not take up the issue until its quadrennial review of ownership restrictions later this year.
“Obviously one doesn’t know for sure, but it appears that the court became impatient with the FCC,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the nonprofit law firm Media Access Project. “The FCC basically waved its hand at the court and said, ‘We’ll get to it when we get to it.’”