Congress Should Ignore the Fairness Doctrine Distraction

FreePress

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Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x22 or (703) 517-6273

Congress Should Ignore the Fairness Doctrine Distraction

WASHINGTON - Today, Free Press released The Fairness Doctrine Distraction, a policy brief that explains why Congress should ignore any attempts to revive the legislative debate over the long-defunct broadcasting regulation. 

The controversy over the Fairness Doctrine heated up recently after a handful of Democratic legislators publicly entertained its return, though no legislation to bring it back has been introduced in Congress. Despite President Barack Obama's statement last week reaffirming his longstanding opposition to the Doctrine, bills have been introduced by Republicans in both the House and Senate to prohibit the FCC from reinstating the regulation.

The Fairness Doctrine Distraction argues that the public interest is not served by revisiting an outdated policy that was taken off the books in 1987. The policy brief notes that it is untenable for the government to regulate political speech. It also points out that the Fairness Doctrine is unlikely to produce viewpoint diversity and would likely be overturned in court. Finally, the brief dispels assertions falsely equating the Fairness Doctrine with other media reform policies such as ownership limits, localism and Net Neutrality that have nothing to do with content regulation.

"There is so much that can be done with broad bipartisan support to promote free speech and diverse viewpoints in our media marketplace," said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press. "We encourage Congress and the administration to ignore the Fairness Doctrine distraction and pursue media reform policies that matter."

Read The Fairness Doctrine Distraction: http://www.freepress.net/files/fp-FairnessDoctrine.pdf

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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