On Friday, a coalition of national broadcast networks, radio and television station licensees, and community and consumer organizations filed a letter asking the Federal Communications Commission to clarify that it will no longer employ a presumptive ban on foreign investment above 25% in the parent companies of broadcast licensees. The Coalition for Broadcast Investment (the “Coalition”), which includes CBS, Disney, and such public interest organizations as the Minority & Media Telecommunications Council and the Latinos in Information Science and Technology Association, asked the FCC instead to consider on a case-by-case basis whether such a transaction is consistent with the public interest. The filing was reported on by Politico (subscription required), Multichannel News, and TVNewsCheck, among others.
The FCC has historically exercised its discretion to consider, and in many instances to allow, indirect foreign investment above the statutory benchmark in wireless common carriers, which are governed by the same statute. At the same time, the Commission has employed an irrebuttable presumption against equivalent investment in the broadcast context. The Coalition argues that this policy is inequitable, particularly when the FCC has liberalized foreign investment policies toward common carriers ― urging that broadcasters have the same ability to seek capital from foreign investment as other industry participants already have under the law.
Continue Reading Broadcasters, Public Interest Groups Urge FCC to Consider Increased Foreign Investment