FCC's media-ownership rules debated at House hearing

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The Federal Communications Commission was attacked by Republicans and Democrats during a congressional hearing on the regulatory agency's media-ownership rules.

Among the issues debated were the FCC's long-standing rule prohibiting one company from owning a newspaper and television station in the same market; the role current regulations play in hindering traditional media's ability to compete against emerging digital platforms, and the lack of diversity among broadcasters.

The FCC, represented at the hearing by the chief of the commission's media bureau, William Lake, was also taken to task for failing to complete its 2010 quadrennial review of ownership rules, as mandated by Congress. New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler plans to roll the 2010 review into the 2014 report and is aiming for a 2016 completion.

The hearing of the House Commerce Committee's subcommittee on communications and technology was split along party lines when it came to how the media industry should be regulated. Republicans, led by subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), challenged the FCC for keeping some rules, including the so-called newspaper-TV cross-ownership ban, on the books for almost 40 years.

FCC's media-ownership rules debated at House hearing