What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : H.R. 2799. Fiscal 2004 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations/Vote to Insure a Diversity of Viewpoints in the Media by Preventing the Concentration of Media Ownership.
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H.R. 2799. Fiscal 2004 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations/Vote to Insure a Diversity of Viewpoints in the Media by Preventing the Concentration of Media Ownership.
house Roll Call 407     Jul 22, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

On June 2, 2003, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a rule intended to enhance competition in media markets. One of the rules implemented by the FCC was to raise the percentage of the national television audience that could be reached by any one media conglomerate from 35 percent to 45 percent. Progressives condemned the FCC's ruling and argued that the new rule would further concentrate media ownership in the hands of a select few firms such as Disney, Viacom, and AOL-Time Warner. In the view of Progressives, the concentration of media ownership undermines the democratic process because the public receives information from fewer independent media outlets on a narrower range of topics. During debate on the 2004 Commerce, Justice, and State appropriations bill, Representative Hinchey (D-NY) proposed an amendment which would have prohibited a company that owns a daily newspaper in a particular media market from receiving a television or radio license in that same region. Progressives supported Hinchey's amendment as a way to prevent the concentration of media ownership and thereby insure that a diversity of viewpoints are disseminated in print, electronic, or televised form. Sixty Democrats joined a majority of Republicans in defeating the Hinchey amendment on a 174-254 vote and the FCC's rules to concentrate media ownership remained intact.

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