While the First
Amendment of the United States Constitution does in fact guarantee an
unrestricted, free press to foreign citizens and corporations operating
newspapers in these United States, it [
] guarantee the
same rights to United States Citizens or political organizations
including the Democrat and Republican parties!
paragraph above accurately describes the result of campaign regulations
passed by the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, signed into
law by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court.
Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from
contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal,
state, or local election in the United States, either directly or
And foreign corporations are
considered foreign nationals -
foreign owned newspapers have more rights than US citizens because
Congress does not want to debate 1st Amendment questions
raised by the Press Exemption.
2 USC 431 (9) (B) The term
"expenditure" does not include -
(i) any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed
through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper,
magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities
are owned or controlled by any political party, political
committee, or candidate;
Congress have been aware of this ‘oversight’ for seven years and chose
not to discuss it while deliberating the passage of the Bipartisan
Campaign Reform Act:
issue of foreign ownership of media, I am currently researching this
I appreciate your concerns that while the FEC regulates contributions
and expenditures of American citizens, newspapers owned by foreign
individuals or corporations are not subject to such regulation. The
problem is in limiting the freedom of speech of these newspapers. Any
type of regulation of editorial comment would be unconstitutional."
Congresswoman Ann Northup's letter to her constituent, Richard Lewis,
dated June 11, 1997
Thank you for your
calls regarding foreign-owned media. I appreciate having the
opportunity to address your concerns.
As Juliane Carter
of my staff discussed with you, the Congressional Research Service is
currently gathering research on this topic for me. I look forward to
seeing what information they provide on the number of broadcast and
print journalism organizations that are owned or operated by
Ann Northup's July 10, 1997 letter to her constituent Richard Lewis. http://amendment10.tripod.com/ann3.gif
print media, I understand your concern about foreign ownership. Of the seven largest newspaper companies, two --
Thomson Newspapers (circulation 1.33 million, 65 dailies) and Hollinger
International (circulation 1.28 million, 105 dailies) -- are Canadian.
However, several questions arise as to how to implement any type of
restriction. While broadcasters are regulated by the FCC, newspapers
do not have any type of regulating agency. Further, requiring any type
of regulation of the print media would draw serious constitutional
However, I agree
with you that media plays in incredibly important and powerful role in
our society. As we discussed on the
radio the other night, campaign finance reform proposals that limit the
ability of candidates to get their message out merely empower the
control of the editorial boards.
I agree with you that foreign ownership
of newspapers could be very dangerous. One wonders what the effect
would be if China bought most of the major newspapers in this country."
Ann Northup's letter to her constituent, Richard Lewis, dated September
Lewis, a constituent from Kentucky's Third District, has grave concerns
about foreign ownership of media.
He raises the
issue that while the media has brought campaign finance reform to the
forefront of public awareness, such proposals limit the ability of
law-abiding citizens to get out a message.
Meanwhile, two of the seven largest
newspaper companies in the United States are owned by foreign
investors. The ability of these foreign owners to influence elections
through editorial pages will be strengthened by increased limits on
Congresswoman Northup's September 4, 1997 letter to the Chairman
William Thomas (Committee on House Oversight), on behalf of her
constituent, Richard Lewis
From Congresswoman Northup's September
4, 1997 letter to Chairman Charles Canady
Subcommittee on the Constitution), on behalf of her constituent, Richard
Same letter as above.
inquiry about foreign ownership of the media and its influence over
federal elections was forwarded to me. As Chairman of the House
Committee which oversees federal elections, I thank you for your
The points you
raise are interesting. Be assured that as the Congress considers the
issue of campaign finance reform or reviews the election process as a
whole I will keep your questions in mind.
Once again, I appreciate and thank you for your desire of the
preservation of free and unfettered elections."
Chairman William M. Thomas letter to Richard Lewis, dated September 9,
Why isn't the existing prohibition
or why wasn't the following language added to
existing exclusions in the Press Exemption during the debate over BCRA:
unless such facilities
are owned or controlled by any political party, political
committee, or candidate,
national or foreign corporation;
U.S., laws that limit media consolidation could be considered 'trade
violations.' policies that promote media localism, diversity, and
pluralism could be classified as 'barriers to trade.' Multinational
corporations could seek cash 'compensation' - paid for by taxpayer
dollars - if tribunals of trade lawyers found our government's public
interest media policies to be 'unduly burdensome' to competition.
It is up to the American People? Are
you willing to sacrifice 1st Amendment rights to globalization? If
so, the rest of the Bill of Rights and Constitutional government will