Major Networks May Challenge Rationale of Media Ownership Regulation

Nov 22, 2004  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal, News Corp. and Viacom on Monday informed the United States Supreme Court that they’re seriously considering urging the high court to overturn its landmark Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC decision-the case that established the bedrock legal rationale for subjecting broadcasters to media ownership regulation and other special rules.

In its 1969 Red Lion decision, the high court said that the fact that broadcasters used a scarce government resource to deliver their programming over the air justified special Federal Communications Commission regulation of the industry in the public interest.

In joint filing with the court on Monday, the coalition of major media companies said a challenge to Red Lion might be included in its appeal of the decision earlier this year from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia that overturned FCC media ownership deregulation.

“Applicants require additional time to study the record, explore the weighty and complex issues that it presents, and prepare and print a petition for a writ of certiorari,” the owners of the NBC, Fox and CBS networks said.

The major network organizations raised the threat to Red Lion in a petition with the court seeking to extend the deadline for high court appeals of the media ownership decision to Jan. 3 next year. Without an extension, appeals would be due Dec. 2. Also urging a filing extension for appeals in the case were the FCC and Department of Justice.