We’ve seen it coming…

In a move that will likely diminish competition and foster the kinds of things we have seen with Saturday Night Live being censored by it’s parent company, General Electric, for being too “mean to it”, the FCC has approved, by a 3-2 vote the lessening of the restrictions that are currently on companies that hold TV broadcasting, magazine, newspaper and other media.

Supporters of the plan say that the current rules are out-of-date relics of an era when most people only had access to three major networks and a handful of independent or public television stations. Today about 89 million households have access to dozens of channels with cable or satellite television service, or about 83 percent of households with televisions.

Some of the unlikely opponents of the move have been, The National Rifle Association, and media moguls Rupert Murdock and Ted Turner who said this in a recent Washing Post article:

…liberalisation (of the rules) would “stifle debate, inhibit new ideas and shut out smaller businesses trying to compete”.
“If these rules had been in place in 1970, it would have been virtually impossible for me to start Turner Broadcasting or, 10 years later, to launch CNN.”

[Source: BBC News]
More regulation, not less, is being called for by Fox Television and its head, Barry Diller

“There are real dangers in complete concentration. The conventional wisdom is wrong – we need more regulation, not less,” he told a National Association of Broadcasters conference in the US.

[BBC News]
There are a couple great sites that have a ton of information on this action and related news. Here are a few of the better ones:
Merging Media (PBS)
Center for Digital Democracy
Open Airwaves
After all we are allowing these broadcasters the rights to use our airwaves. That’s right, as citizen’s we own the airwaves and allow these huge conglomerates to profit from our generosity. What do we get in exchange? Fine programming like Fame, For Love or Money, Paradise Hotel, and Celebrity Mole Hawaii
Here are some other rights listed in a Declaration of Digital Democracy.

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