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In a surprise move, a Philadelphia federal appeals court on Wednesday, September 3, blocked the controversial new FCC media ownership rules from going into effect. The new rules—which the FCC voted for on June 2 despite an unprecedented outpouring of opposition from across the political spectrum—would allow huge media corporations to own even more television stations and newspapers. The rules would have gone into effect today, September 4th.

The Prometheus Radio Project, a Philadelphia-based collective that promotes low-power FM community-based radio stations, petitioned the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to issue a stay pending resolution of Congressional proceedings. The U.S. House of Representatives in July defied its Republican leadership to vote for retaining current restrictions on the size of national TV networks. Senate appropriators on Thursday are expected to consider a measure reversing the new rules' relaxation of limits on national TV network size, and the full Senate could vote as early as next week.

The Court's stay means that rules in effect before the June 2 FCC vote remain in place—for the time being.


Meanwhile, activists had planned protests at media outlets on September 4th in at least a half a dozen cities, including Pittsburgh. Activists say they will go ahead with their protests to challenge corporate media control over what America sees and hears, and to demand that Congress permanently rescind the rules and break up the media oligopolies.

Media activists also hope to counter the new pro-consolidation advertising campaign that was launched this week by the corporate media giants. According the Wall Street Journal, lobbyists for Viacom (CBS), General Electric (NBC) and News Corporation (Fox) will attempt to convince lawmakers that voters don't want the government regulating the airwaves. They have ads running this week in two Washington political publications, The Hill and Roll Call, using the slogan, "America Says: Don't Get Between Me And My TV."

Protests against the new media ownership rules are planned in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, and Washington, DC. In Pittsburgh, activists will march from the Federal Building to KDKA (owned by Viacom) to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The group sponsoring the local protest (Pittsburgh Media Action) demands that the FCC break up behemoths like Viacom, which owns two of Pittsburgh's stations (KDKA and WNPA).

After the protest, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center will host an open house at its Garfield office, 4805 Penn Ave. Some recent IMC newsreels will be screened.

Local call to action | National mobilization site | Prof. Sterne lecture on media monopoly | Pittsburgh M29 protest at Clear Channel | 3rd District Court Stay order

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