Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fairness Doctrine to be Removed from Federal Regulations

At the age of 62, it appears that broadcasting’s no-longer-enforced Fairness Doctrine is about to be taken off the books.

The policy required radio and TV stations to air both sides of controversial issues. It made sense in broadcasting’s infancy, when most communities only had one or a few stations. Even though the idea was abandoned in the 1980s, it was never removed from the list of regulations.

Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have suggested bringing it back — an obvious ploy to force radio stations to carry liberal talk shows in proportion to conservative talk shows, knocking some of the latter off the air.

Now, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has indicated a willingness to remove the Fairness Doctrine language from the record.

“I fully support deleting the Fairness Doctrine and related provisions from the Code of Federal Regulations, so that there can be no mistake that what has been a dead letter is truly dead,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wrote to Rep. Fred. Upton, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “I … anticipate that the process can be completed in the near future.”

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