US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) head Ajit Pai made headlines through 2017 as he fought to repeal net neutrality guidelines that prevented internet service providers from messing with your web traffic – and won. Things aren’t looking quite as rosy for him now, as that’s not all he’s been up to.
Pai is now being investigated by his own agency for rushing to remove protections that kept television broadcasting companies from growing too large and increasing their base – a move that allowed Sinclair Broadcast Group to buy out Tribune Media; the deal is slated to be approved by the FCC in a few weeks.
That would help establish a Sinclairian media oligarchy and as critics have argued, stifle voices in news media as the firm would have far more power in distributing channels and content that are in line with conservative views.
According to the New York Times, the investigation is said to have been launched by the FCC’s Inspector General by the end of last year; the goal is to uncover whether Pai worked to demolish media consolidation rules in order to benefit Sinclair and allow its deal to go through. It’s also worth noting that Pai and his staff members were previously discovered to have met with Sinclair executives several times in 2017, as per this NYT report from last August.
Naturally, this will be one to watch – but don’t hold your breath for net neutrality to be restored in the US if Pai is found guilty in the above case. That’s mostly dead in the water until the GOP can figure out if it’ll vote against it later this year.