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EchoStar Chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen said the company will pursue a challenge of satellite TV's must-carry rules at the Supreme Court, a move that EchoStar and others must make this week.

Ergen told reporters outside a Senate subcommittee hearing discussing EchoStar's proposal to merge with DirecTV about the company's plans to continue with the constitutional challenge. DirecTV Chairman Eddy Hartenstein, also at the hearing, didn't have a comment on whether his company will join the fight.

Satellite TV interests have been pursuing the must-carry rules, which require satellite TV companies to carry all stations in the markets they serve, for more than a year. The satellite industry lost its case before the U.S. Appeals Court in Richmond, Va., in December.

During the hearing, however, Ergen said the merged satellite TV entity will carry all stations for all TV markets in the United States, a promise the companies made last week in an effort to sway political debate on their $26 billion proposal to combine operations. "It's the principle that we think must-carry (is a burden on) our free speech, so feel we are entitled to pursue that," he said during his testimony.

From SkyReport (Used with permission)
 
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