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US: Pai to won’t recuse from Sinclair-Tribune proceeding

 |  February 22, 2018
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai recently refused to recuse himself from the agency’s review of Sinclair Broadcasting Group.’s US$3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, after Rep. Frank Pallone (D, New Jersey)  cast doubts about his impartiality.

Under the leadership of Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed to run the agency by President Trump, the FCC has repeatedly pushed for policy changes to make it easier for broadcasters to amass greater ownership of media properties.

Shortly after one rule change early in Pai’s tenure, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced plans to acquire Tribune Media for US$3.9 billion. The deal, which would not have been possible without the change, would push the total number of TV stations Sinclair owns to more than 200 nationwide.

As the New York Times reported on Thursday, February 15, Mr. Pallone reported that the FCC’s Inspector General, its top internal watchdog, was investigating whether Mr. Pai and his aides had improperly pushed the rule changes and timed them to benefit Sinclair, specifically, the appearance of quid pro quo that may have helped pave the way for the proposed merger.

Advocacy group Free Press also called on  Ajit Pai to recuse himself from all decisions related to the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed takeover of Tribune Media.

Full Content: CNN

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