FCC's Martin opposes return of Fairness Doctrine

Jul 28, 2007 8:54 pm
From Radio Ink:
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has come out strongly against the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, saying in a letter to Rep. Mike Pence, "In my judgment, the events of the last two decades have confirmed the wisdom of the [FCC's] decision to abolish the Fairness Doctrine."

Martin's letter, dated July 23 and made public today, was written in response to a July 19 letter in which Pence asked Martin for his views on "the appropriateness of the Fairness Doctrine in today's broadcast environment."

Pence and Rep. Greg Walden on July 11 introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act, which would take away the FCC's authority to reinstate the policy that until 1987 required broadcasters to present both sides of any controversial issue, and the bill now has more than 130 co-sponsors. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate last month.

In his letter, Martin states, "Discussion of controversial issues over the airwaves has flourished absent regulatory constraints, and the public now enjoys access to an ever-expanding range of views and opinions. Indeed, with the continued proliferation of additional sources of information and programming, including satellite broadcasting and the Internet, the need for the Fairness Doctrine has lessened even further since 1987."

Martin concludes, "In short, I see no compelling reason to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in today's broadcast environment and believe that such a step would inhibit the robust discussion of issues of public concern over the nation's airwaves."
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