Thursday, June 24, 2004

Big Media Takes A Few Hits - Democracy On The Offensive

Today we get word of two great developments in the fight to take back our media.

First, the U.S. Senate passed a voice vote to return to the media rules prior to the controversial FCC changes last summer (documented on this blog). Co-sponsor Byron Dorgan has this to say:
"Last June, the FCC performed one of the most complete cave-ins to corporate interests against the public interest in the history of the country," he said. "When the number of people and corporations who control what 293 million Americans see and hear in the media shrinks to just a relative handful, democracy suffers."

The Senate took the action in case a pending court action found in favor of the new rules. No need to worry, however, as today the court tossed out the new rules:

The Federal Communications Commission was ordered by a U.S. appeals court to review its new rules that let companies such as News Corp. and Viacom Inc. buy more television stations and newspapers.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia also blocked implementation of the media ownership rules, approved a year ago by the FCC under Chairman Michael Powell, until the agency acts, a copy of the decision shows.

``The Commission falls short of its obligation to justify its decisions to retain, repeal or modify its media ownership regulations with reasoned analysis,'' the appeals court said in its 218-page decision.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who had dissented earlier in regards to the FCC action, sums it up:

``The rush to media consolidation approved by the FCC last June was wrong as a matter of law and policy,'' FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said in a statement. ``The Commission has a second chance to do the right thing.'' Copps voted against the new rules last year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Excess In Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thought

I hope you get that here. Lawrence Lessig has the story of Microsoft suing a Brazilian government official for excessive freedom of speech and thought.

God forbid.