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Petition Requests 3rd Circuit Rehearing on Ownership Rules


FCC
FCC

NAB along with other radio and TV broadcasters have filed a petition requesting a rehearing by the full Third Circuit Court of Appeals of a challenge to the Commission's 2016 quadrennial review order on broadcast ownership rules. In September, a three-judge panel of the Court vacated the FCC's 2016 order. NAB claims the panel has rejected multiple attempts by the FCC to modernize its media ownership rules for the past 15 years.

According to the petition, the groups express a belief, "based on a reasoned and studied professional judgment," that the panel misinterpreted Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by replacing Congress's command to consider competition with non-statutory policy considerations about ownership diversity. This error, the trade groups say, prevented the FCC from making necessary changes to its media ownership rules and will distort "every future quadrennial review of those rules."

Congress enacted Section 202(h) more than two decades ago, ordering the FCC to periodically review its rules restricting ownership of radio, television and newspapers, and to repeal or modify any regulation that is no longer in the public interest "as the result of competition." The filing claims that despite Congress's clear command to modernize the FCC's ownership rules and eliminate outdated restrictions, a single panel of this Court has -- for more than 15 years -- prevented the FCC from fulfilling its duty and blocked any other court (or panel of this Court) from weighing in.

Earlier on Thursday, the FCC filed a petition with the Court also seeking an en banc rehearing of the legal challenge.

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