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Nets ask for reg reversal

Companies push for loosening of restrictions

The Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times, plus News Corp.’s Fox, Viacom Inc.’s CBS and General Electric Co.’s NBC, on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision that blocked the loosening of restrictions on media companies’ growth.

The Bush administration decided Thursday not to challenge an appeals court decision to have the U.S. Federal Communications Commission review its proposed media-ownership rules.

The rules, pushed by FCC chairman Michael Powell, made it easier for companies to acquire TV stations and own both newspapers and TV stations in the same city.

Media companies said the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong to block the FCC from relaxing its ownership rules. The companies also say the Constitution’s free-speech guarantee required the FCC to go even further to loosen its restrictions.

They asked the court to consider whether the government “can create ownership restrictions that single out newspaper owners and particularly limit their speech — but not the speech of other major media such as owners of cable television systems and Internet Web sites.”