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Senate Seeks to Counter FCC

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WASHINGTON The Senate Commerce Committee plans to vote Wednesday on legislation that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision lifting the federal ban against joint ownership of a newspaper and a broadcast outlet in the same market.

Under the so-called "legislative veto" being pushed by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., the resolution would rescind the FCC's December decision to allow newspaper-broadcast combinations in the nation's top 20 markets.

The FCC also gave permanent waivers to the cross-ownership ban in 42 situations and made it easier to win waivers for newspaper-broadcast combinations in smaller markets.

While the resolution would likely face a veto by President Bush, approval, even if it was only by the Senate, "would send a strong message" that the public is opposed to easing ownership rules.

The FCC decision also faces several legal challenges from parties who think it went too far -- and from those who feel it didn't go far enough.