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Supreme Court declines to hear media cross-ownership case

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Friday denied certiorari [order list, PDF] in a case dealing with media ownership regulations by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website]. In National Association of Broadcasters v. FCC [docket; cert. petition] the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] ruled last year that the FCC must revise its current media ownership rules [JURIST report], effectively reinstating a ban on owning a television station and newspaper in the same market. The ban, though not dissolved, had been relaxed in recent years. In 2007, the FCC changed the rule [JURIST report] to allow companies to own newspapers and television stations in the 20 largest media markets provided there were at least eight media outlets in the market to compete. The court found that the FCC did not fulfill the "notice and comment requirements" of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) [5 USC § 551 text], by allowing comments for only 28 days instead of the traditional 90, and giving notice in a New York Times op-ed.

The court also declined to hear an appeal in FCC v. CBS Corp. [docket], challenging a decision [JURIST report] by the Third Circuit throwing out a $550,000 fine against CBS that was issued as a result of the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" during the halftime show of the 2004 Super Bowl. In a concurrence to the denial of certiorari, Chief Justice John Roberts said that regardless of whether the Third Circuit decision was correct, the court's recent decision in FCC v. Fox [JURIST report] resolves any issue in this case.

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