FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at an open meeting earlier this year. Photo: Robin Groulx / Axios

The FCC will vote next month on a sweeping media deregulation proposal put forth by the agency's Republican chairman on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It will be the latest victory the FCC has handed the broadcast industry this year. Critics say the agency takes positions that benefit the Trump-friendly Sinclair Broadcast Group that is trying to acquire Tribune stations.

The details:

  • The proposal would eliminate the ban on owning both a newspaper and a television station in a market, according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's opening statement at a Wednesday congressional hearing.
  • It would also make it possible for the agency to allow a company to own more than one of the top-four television stations in a market, which is prohibited under current rules.
  • The proposal also eliminates other media rules, including cross-ownership regulations for radio and television stations. A draft will be released on Thursday.

The bigger picture: Pai's critics say actions like this will encourage more media consolidation. Earlier this year he made a change that removed a hinderance for Sinclair's later-announced merger with Tribune, and on Tuesday the agency voted to eliminate another regulation that required broadcast stations to keep a primary studio in the community they serve.

Worth noting: Democratic lawmakers also sharply criticized Pai on Wednesday for what they say was a tepid response to President Trump's tweeted suggestion that broadcast licenses for NBC stations should be challenged.

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Updated 29 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it's too early to say whether next month's elections will be postponed after she announced Tuesday four people had tested positive for COVID-19 after no local cases for 102 days.

Zoom in: NZ's most populous city, Auckland, has gone on lockdown for 72 hours and the rest of the country is under lesser restrictions.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 20,188,678 — Total deaths: 738,668 — Total recoveries: 12,452,126Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 5,138,850 — Total deaths: 164,480 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.

Voters cast ballots in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Vermont

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Primary elections are being held on Tuesday in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Vermont and Wisconsin.

The big picture: Georgia and Wisconsin both struggled to hold primaries during the coronavirus pandemic, but are doing so again — testing their voting systems ahead of the general election. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is facing a strong challenger as she fights for her political career. In Georgia, a Republican primary runoff pits a QAnon supporter against a hardline conservative.