FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Interview: Media Ownership Rules ‘Quite Antiquated’

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said that the agency is studying restrictions on media ownership, characterizing a number of the rules as “quite antiquated.” In an interview with Variety, Chairman Pai said that an easing of such restrictions “is one of the issues that is under consideration. We haven’t made any firm determinations there, either.” Many broadcasters have championed the idea of lifting restrictions that limit the number of stations that one entity can own.

Also, in October, President Donald Trump said that he opposed the proposed merger of AT&T with Time Warner, saying that it was too much “power in the hands of too few.” A campaign adviser, Peter Navarro, now director of the National Trade Council, promised that Trump “will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives.” “We are studying the issue,” Chairman Pai said. “But what I can tell you is that having worked on that question [of media ownership] for a quite a while, I do think that a number of media ownership rules have become quite antiquated.” Asked whether he agreed that there was a problem with media concentration, Pai said that “we obviously have to take a case-by-case look as to the competitive landscape, and so it really depends on the geographic market, the product and service market that we are talking about. If it is a transaction that is involved, what are the competitive implications of the confirmation of that transaction? And so it is hard to opine in the abstract about a situation like that.”


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Interview: Media Ownership Rules ‘Quite Antiquated’