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Third Circuit Denies FCC Rehearing on Media Ownership Ruling

Nov. 21, 2019, 3:52 PM

The Federal Communication Commission lost its bid to have the entire Third Circuit reconsider a three-judge panel’s decision to scrap the agency’s new media ownership rules.

A majority of the appeals court voted Nov. 20 not to rehear the Sept. 23 decision, which overturned the FCC’s easing of restrictions on companies owning a certain number of broadcast stations and newspapers in a single market.

The ruling was a victory for Prometheus Radio Project and other media advocacy groups that sued the agency over the rules. They argued that the easing of restrictions would lead to more broadband industry consolidation and hinder ownership diversity.

The FCC claimed the decades-old ownership limits stymie broadcasters and newspapers from competing with online streaming services like Netflix Inc. The panel had found the agency failed to adequately consider how the changes would affect media ownership by women and racial minorities.

An FCC spokesman declined to comment on the denial.

The case is Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, 3d Cir. en banc, No. 18-02943, 11/20/19

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Reid in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Melissa B. Robinson at, Keith Perine at