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FCC's Ajit Pai: Media Ownership Rules Must Meet Modern Times

(Fox News' "Varney & Co.")

By    |   Friday, 10 November 2017 03:31 PM

Modern media has several kinds of competition now that was not around back in 1975, the last time the FCC established its media ownership rules, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Friday, while discussing a series of upcoming hearings to discuss a new slate of proposed regulations.

"Our rules should match the market mace in which we're in," Pai told Fox Business' Stuart Varney, as "the FCC has rules on the books that don't contemplate anything like the Internet."

For example, he said, if a Silicon Valley giant such as Jeff Bezos can purchase The Washington Post and "nobody bats an eyelash," then "why should a radio station be prohibited from doing the same with a newspaper? That's good for local coverage as well."

On Nov. 16, the FCC will host an open meeting to discuss a wide slate of rules changes, including reconsidering broadcast ownership rules.

When it comes to whether large entities, such as Facebook, could buy into media companies, however, Pai said federal antitrust laws would still come into play.

"I take the position of regulatory humility," Pai said. "It doesn't seem a government regulator should preemptively say these potential pro-competitive combinations should be outlawed because we know what the marketplace is like now and what it always will be like. That's not something the government is well positioned to do."

Pai said he also considers the issue of media ownership from the perspective of consumers.

"They want as much news as they can get, and the last thing the government should do is stand in the way saying, no, we demand that the marketplace be as it was in 1975," Pai said. "That's simply not the way it is now."

Another irony about the rules is they often hit outlets that are struggling, such as newspapers and local broadcast radio and television stations, Pai said.

"We single them out for onerous regulations while ignoring cable channels, online platform, all types of media the FCC never thought about in 1975 because it didn't exist," he added. "[We are] modernizing our regulations to match the marketplace in which we're in and, number two, trying to promote more competition. We want all companies using all technologies o have a fair chance to compete."

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Friday that modern media has several kinds of competition now that was not around back in 1975, the last time the FCC established its media ownership rules.
fcc, ajit pai, media, anti trust
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2017-31-10
Friday, 10 November 2017 03:31 PM
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