Australia is not the only nation to be rethinking its media ownership laws — the United States Federal Communications Commission is also considering whether to lift the current restrictions on ownership of a newspaper and a radio or television station in the same market.

Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, along with certain media companies (including Tribune Co. and Media General Inc.) have argued that the 1975 ban on cross-ownership is no longer justified. Reasons cited to lift the ban include cost savings, the level of competition in the media industry, and the importance of promoting local content and diversity. The FCC’s efforts to lift the ban in 2003 failed. Republicans currently hold three places on the five-member FCC.

The FCC’s current effort may take up to a year, starting with a four-month public comment period. The review will also consider whether a broadcaster should be permitted to own more than one television station in smaller markets or more radio stations in a market. Also at issue is the rule preventing two of the top four television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox) from being owned by the same company.

Democrats on the FCC oppose the effort, as do consumer advocate groups. Concerns cited include the preservation of local content and diversity — some of the same reasons used in support of the changes.