SBD/5/Sports Media

AFTER 18 MONTH FCC INVESTIGATION, MURDOCH WINS BIG VICTORY

     News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch "won a big victory"
yesterday when the FCC admitted that his company was in violation
of foreign ownership laws, but "gave it a clear road map to
getting an exception to the rule."  The 18-month investigation
had examined whether Murdoch's Australian-based News Corp. was in
violation of the FCC's foreign ownership regulations, and whether
the company misled regulators about its ownership when seeking
FCC approval of the purchase of the original Fox stations in '85.
Yesterday, the FCC gave News Corp. a chance to "argue that a
waiver would be in the public interest," and three of five
commissioners made it clear they believe the Fox Network "had
already benefited the public by bringing new competition to NBC,
ABC, and CBS."  Media Access Project Exec Dir Andrew Jay
Schwartzman, a frequent Fox critic, called the ruling "a complete
victory" for Murdoch (Edmund Andrews, N.Y. TIMES, 5/5).  In
Washington, Paul Farhi writes that the FCC "made it official
yesterday:  The FCC blew it."  Farhi notes the FCC's '85 approval
of Murdoch's purchase of the six original Fox stations,
"apparently without knowing   -- or without being concerned" --
that Murdoch's News Corp.  was providing all of the capital
(WASHINGTON POST, 5/5).
     BIG PICTURE:  The decision, and other FCC rulings, signals
that foreign ownership rules "are already less of a barrier than
they have been in the past -- and will likely be relaxed
further," according to Jube Shiver of the L.A. TIMES.  That could
"broaden the pool of prospective buyers" for other U.S.
properties -- notably CBS (L.A. TIMES, 5/5).
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ABC, CBS, NBC, News Corp./Fox, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney

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