The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to vote next week on a proposal to weaken rules that protect the public from media monopolies – even though it hasn't released the proposal publicly. From the details that have emerged, this proposal would weaken rules governing how many TV stations one company can own, and may even permit a company to own newspapers and television stations in the same local market. This would allow a few huge conglomerates to monopolize what we see, hear and read in the media.

Please take a moment to tell the FCC and your members of Congress that you oppose the FCC's proposal to deregulate media ownership rules. Then, forward the informationto your family and friends.

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already deregulated radio, where the massive Clear Channel now owns at least 1200 stations, including multiple stations in the same markets. Now the FCC has scheduled a vote for Monday, June 2, to deregulate television as well.

Incredibly, the FCC hasn't actually released its latest media ownership proposal publicly. FCC Chairman Michael Powell is on record that public hearings are unnecessary. But FCC commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein disagree, and have held a series of unofficial public hearings in recent weeks to get the word out. At issue are media concentration and cross-ownership rules that seek to protect localism, competition and diversity in the media. These rules, among other things, currently limit a single corporation from dominating local TV markets; from merging a community's TV stations, radio stations and newspapers; from merging two major TV networks; and from controlling more than 35 percent of all TV households in the nation.

Most experts believe that the FCC proposal would allow the national ownership cap to rise to 45 percent of all households, allow ownership of multiple TV stations in over 150 local markets and allow the dominant newspaper and dominant TV station to merge (cross-own) in at least 150 local markets. Each of these changes will have a negative effect on competition for news, the amount of local news and culture presented and the diversity of views presented to viewers and listeners.

It's not surprising that Chairman Powell wants to go forward quickly. Despite a virtual news blackout by the media -- who stand to benefit from weakening the rules -- opposition is rising. Members of Congress have requested that the FCC vote be delayed. A diverse coalition of groups, including us, the Catholic Council of Bishops, the National Rifle Association, and the conservative Family Research Council, oppose the FCC's proposal. But Powell claims that the vote must be held next week.

We need your help to block this media power grab by moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Fox, AOL Time Warner, Viacom (CBS), General Electric (NBC), Disney (ABC) and others. Fewer owners means less localism and fewer viewpoints in our newspapers and on television. Media concentration also threatens democracy, since competition for news-gathering poses a healthy check on both government and corporate excess. Groups with important but controversial or minority-held viewpoints may no longer be heard.

As several members of Congress recently told Chairman Powell, "With the U.S. economy still reeling from the effects of recent corporate scandals, it is shocking that the FCC would allow some of these same corporations to control the public's access to information."