The Federal Communications Commission approved a measure today to relax the rules on media ownership. The measure would allow one company to own more than one t-v station in a market, or to own both broadcast media and newspapers in the same market. University of Northern Iowa communications studies professor, Christopher Martin, says we might not see immediate action — but mergers will come.He says in the next several years we’ll see a number of media mergers with the networks owning more local stations, and there’ll be more cases of one company owning the t-v and newspaper in a city. Those who defend the move say there’re so many media sources now with the addition of the Internet and cable t-v, that it won’t limit the diversity of information. Martin doesn’t agree. He says one of the F-C-C Commissioners pointed out that you can plug a lot of things into an outlet, but it’s still the same source of electricity. Martin says we’ll likely see fewer reports and reporters, and one reporter reporting for more sources. Martin says the consolidation of media ownership is akin to consolidation in the agriculture industry. He says the big farmers get the most subsidies, and he says the media is the same, as what happened today benefits the big media companies, while it really doesn’t help American citizens. The vote today was three-to-two along party lines, with the Republican-majority dominating the move to change the rules — but Martin says the vote doesn’t reflect the public feeling.He says there were thre-quarters of a million e-mails and letters to the F-C-C and ninety-seven percent of them were against the change. Martin says those against the move came from all sides of the political spectrum. Some senators are already talking about trying to stop the new rules before the go into effect. Senator Byron Dorgan calls the F-C-C’s vote ”dumb and dangerous,” and Senator Trent Lott says letting one company have control over the print and broadcast media in one city isn’t fair to its citizens.
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