FCC asks appeals court to rehear case on TV ownership

Saturday, April 20th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Federal Communications Commission asked an appeals court Friday to rehear a case in which a three-judge panel ordered the government to reconsider its ownership limits on broadcast and cable firms.

The judges of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said in February the FCC's justification for restricting television station ownership was arbitrary and unlawful. They sent the rules back to the FCC for further consideration.

Additionally, they vacated a commission rule that prohibited cable systems and broadcast stations in the same local market from being controlled by the same entity.

The FCC, in a 14-page filing, said the court should rehear the case of ``an issue of exceptional importance.''

The plaintiffs _ Fox Television Stations Inc., National Broadcasting Co. Inc., Viacom Inc. and CBS Broadcasting Inc. _ challenged the FCC's decision to retain a rule that prohibits any entity from controlling television stations that, together, can reach more than 35 percent of U.S. households.

Time Warner Entertainment Co. had challenged the cable broadcast rule.