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Copps Warns of Possible FCC Deregulation Efforts

May 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Concerned that Federal Communications Commission Republicans will launch a new effort to relax media ownership rules, FCC Democrat Michael Copps urged watchdog representatives Saturday to “jump in with both feet” to organize opposition now.

“Don’t let the usual suspects inside the [Washington] Beltway write the rules,” Mr. Copps said at a media reform conference sponsored by Free Press in St. Louis.

Mr. Copps told representatives of watchdog organizations that he fears FCC Republicans will try to downplay deregulation this time around, loosening rules one at a time, swallowing the “whole cake by eating a piece at a time.”

Many analysts believe that the controversial effort by Republicans on the FCC to relax the rules two years ago failed in part because the GOP majority was too ambitious and attempted to address many of the restrictions in a massive package deal. “I can see a scenario where Big Media pushes us hard to change [a] rule at a time, say every month or two,” Mr. Copps said.

“I have no intention of letting that happen,” he added. “But it will happen without another mass outpouring of public participation like we had two years ago. If citizens insist upon their rightful role in the decision-making process, citizens will win. But that’s the only way we win.”