Archive for the Fairness Doctrine Category

BREAKING: FCC suspends CIN study that would intrude on freedom of the press

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, FCC, free speech, freedom with tags , , , , , , on February 21, 2014 by saynsumthn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

From the FCC:

February 21, 2014
Matthew Berry, 202-418-2005
Email: Matthew.Berry@fcc.gov
STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

ON THE SUSPENSION OF THE CRITICAL INFORMATION NEEDS STUDY

I welcome today’s announcement that the FCC has suspended its “Multi-Market Study of
Critical Information Needs,” or CIN study. This study would have thrust the federal government
into newsrooms across the country, somewhere it just doesn’t belong. The Commission has now
recognized that no study by the federal government, now or in the future, should involve asking
questions to media owners, news directors, or reporters about their practices. This is an
important victory for the First Amendment. And it would not have been possible without the
American people making their voices heard. I will remain vigilant that any future initiatives not
infringe on our constitutional freedoms.

Is Fairness Act in effect by FCC thru a Back Door?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2014 by saynsumthn

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will soon launch an initiative — the Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs (CIN) — “in order to assess whether government action is needed to ensure that the information needs of all Americans are being met, including women and minorities.”

When the FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) announced the initiative in a release last November 1, it stated it had selected Columbia, South Carolina, to field-test the Research Design for the CIN. OCBO expects to complete this next phase of its Critical Information Needs Research no later than July 2014.

Citing the FCC, Jason Pye (the editor-in-chief for the United Liberty website and former legislative director for the Libertarian Party of Georgia) wrote that the stated purpose of the CIN is to collect information from television and radio broadcasters about “the process by which stories are selected” and how often stations cover “critical information needs,” as well as to assess “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”

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Calling it a “first step down the same dangerous path” of the infamous Fairness Doctrine, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai this week blasted a study being readied by the agency ostensibly to boost diversity in media. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Commissioner Pai stated, “With its ‘Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,’ or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, SC, is scheduled to begin this spring.”

Commissioner Pai’s warnings build on the alarms raised by legislators in recent months. Notably, key Republicans on the House Energy & Commerce Committee sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in which they referred to the CIN study as a “Fairness Doctrine 2.0.” They wrote, “Given the widespread calls for the commission to respect the First Amendment and stay out of the editorial decisions of reporters and broadcasters, we were shocked to see that the FCC is putting itself back in the business of attempting to control the political speech of journalists.”

While his agency asserts the study is part of its research for lowering barriers to entry in media, Commissioner Pai dismissed this idea. He stated, “This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?” Commissioner Pai noted that the advocates of Fairness Doctrine-like “newsroom policing” are not deterred from continuing to press their agenda. However, he firmly stated, “The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.”

The Fairness Doctrine, first introduced in 1949, enabled the FCC to compel broadcasters to air opposing viewpoints on controversial issues deemed to be of public importance. The Fairness Doctrine, while not enforced since 1987, was finally eliminated from the Code of Federal Regulations in August 2011. NRB will remain vigilant against a resurgence of such a policy.

Journalism in Peril? FCC commissioner calling for Government control of media

Posted in Censorship, Fairness Doctrine, Net Neutrality with tags , , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by saynsumthn

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits Congress from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

FCC Commissioner Wants to Test the ‘Public Value’ of Every Broadcast Station
Friday, December 03, 2010
By Susan Jones

(CNSNews.com) – American journalism is in “grave peril,” FCC Commissioner Michael Copps says, and to bolster “traditional media,” he said the Federal Communications Commission should conduct a “public value test” of every commercial broadcast station at relicensing time.

In a speech at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York on Thursday, Copps also said station relicensing should happen every four years instead of the current eight.

“If a station passes the Public Value Test, it of course keeps the license it has earned to use the people’s airwaves,” Copps said. “If not, it goes on probation for a year, renewable for an additional year if it demonstrates measurable progress. If the station fails again, give the license to someone who will use it to serve the public interest.”

Ever since Barack Obama became president, prominent conservatives have warned about liberal efforts to squelch conservative and Christian talk-radio.

Although Copps has said the FCC will not reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, his prescription for “testing” commercial broadcast stations (see below) will alarm defenders of free speech and free enterprise.

Copps said the FCC and Congress in the future will need to examine the rules governing the structure of media ownership. And he advocated increasing support for public broadcasting, which he described as “the jewel of our media landscape.”

Copps was introduced to the audience at Columbia by veteran PBS journalist Bill Moyers, something that thrilled Copps: “No one stands higher in my pantheon of citizen heroes than you, and I can think of no journalist, contemporary or at any time across the annals of our past, who has contributed so much to democracy’s dialogue,” Copps said of the liberal Moyers.

Full report here

FCC Petition: ReEducation for “Conservative Talk Radio”

Posted in Czar, Fairness Doctrine, free speech, Glenn Beck, Obama with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2009 by saynsumthn

This is from National Religious Broadcasters

http://www.nrb.org

Last Friday I attended a meeting in Washington co-sponsored by the Federal Communications Bar Association. The subject was a petition that had been filed with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) back in January, just as the new Obama Administration was taking over the reins of power. The petition is asking the FCC to launch a formal investigation into “hate” over the airwaves. The targets in the petition are conspicuous radio conservatives, but it is clear that Christian broadcasters would all be in the cross hairs if the FCC were to take this petition seriously. The petitioners are a coalition spearheaded by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), and also includes the United Church of Christ. One of the speakers at last Friday’s meeting was Jessica Gonzalez, an attorney for the petitioners. When asked by the attendees about the end-game of their petition to the FCC, Ms. Gonzalez declined to say that they want to see new anti-hate regulations t o control broadcast content. Yet the petition itself would certainly lend itself to that result, citing as it did the FCC’s supposed “public interest” power to eradicate slanted and unfair broadcast characterizations of people or groups. Instead, Ms. Gonzalez cited the need for a national dialogue on what her group perceives as the problem with some conservative commentary, particularly as it deals with the immigration issue.

Aside from the obvious point that the FCC has no business firing-up investigations merely to create a useful public dialogue on an issue, and the even more obvious First Amendment objections to this hate speech petition, what is most revealing is the specific remedy the petitioners’ attorney says they really want: namely, that the federal government should launch a public “education” and “awareness” campaign focusing on the problem with some of the rhetoric contained in conservative broadcasts. I can just envision public school curricula being devised on this subject as an example. Or PSA’s required to be carried on every radio or TV station identifying those opinion-makers who are deemed to be purveyors of “hate”; a whole generation being schooled that certain opinions should be shuffled outside the city gates and treated with universal condemnation. When I wrote recently that this kind of public indoctrination could well be one of the most dangerous consequences of recently passed “hate crimes” legislation, the gay-rights blogs considered me an extremist. But in our constitutional Republic, when the federal government is being asked to create an official orthodoxy of opinion on matters of politics, religion, and social morality in the form of “hate” inquisitions, and then to enforce it upon the citizenry through massive public “education,” who, I might ask, are the real extremists?

READ: Obama’s Diversity Offensive Against Talk Radio