A federal courtroom on Wednesday rejected a lawsuit in opposition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in search of to overturn the company’s determination to successfully elevate the restrict on the variety of native tv stations an organization can personal.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the authorized challenge on a technicality, ruling that the buyer group Free Press didn’t set up that it had the authorized standing to convey the go well with.
Last 12 months, Free Press sued the company over its determination to reinstate the UHF low cost, which makes ultrahigh frequency tv stations depend as half of a traditional station when calculating for whether or not a broadcaster is in compliance with the nationwide media ownership cap.
Those firms aren’t allowed to serve greater than 39 p.c of the nation’s tv viewing viewers. The determination to reinstate the UHF low cost final 12 months was seen as a serious win for firms like Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has been attempting to consolidate its energy over the native tv market.
In reinstating the low cost, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R) mentioned that the loophole was outdated however argued that the Obama-era FCC erred in repealing it with out reviewing the prevailing media ownership cap.
“I’m pleased with the court’s decision to reject this challenge to the reinstatement of the UHF discount pending the completion of our comprehensive review of the national ownership cap,” Pai mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday.
“We’re disappointed that this panel of judges refused to rule on the FCC’s phony math and poor excuses for the obsolete and harmful UHF discount,” Jessica Gonzalez, deputy director at Free Press, said in a statement. “It’s important to remember that this decision does nothing to bless or approve the FCC’s unsupported policy changes and legal claims surrounding the reinstatement of the fossilized UHF loophole. It also offers no opinion on Pai’s proposal to unlawfully raise the national ownership cap in yet another rulemaking proceeding still pending at the agency.”
The win for the FCC, nonetheless, is probably going too late to avoid wasting Sinclair’s doomed merger with Tribune Media, a deal that may have put the mixed firm over the highest of the 39 p.c restrict and relied on the UHF low cost to convey it inside placing distance of the cap.
But final week, Pai and the remainder of fee voted to submit the deal by way of the arduous means of an administrative regulation evaluate to scrutinize questionable facet offers that Sinclair had proposed to convey the merger into compliance with the media ownership restrict.
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Updated at 12:25 p.m.