Update: FCC Pledges to Scrub Fairness Doctrine by August
Stopped enforcing the doctrine in 1987 as unconstitutional
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/28/2011 11:41:54 AM
That is according to the chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R- Mich.) and of the Communications Subcommittee, Greg Walden (R-Mich.). A spokesperson confirmed the deadline. "
."Eliminating the Fairness Doctrine is part of an effort within the Commission to identify and eliminate antiquated and outmoded rules that unnecessarily burden business, stifle investment and innovation or confuse consumers and licensees, " said a spokesman for the chairman.
Genachowski had already indicated the FCC planned to remove the doctrine from the Code of Federal Regulations after Upton and Walden expressed concern.
The FCC stopped enforcing the doctrine in 1987 as unconstitutional.
The doctrine required TV stations to air controversial issues of public importance and seek out opposing viewpoints. Also still on the books are corollaries to the doctrine providing for free response time for personal attacks and providing equal time for other candidates if a station endorsed a candidate in an editorial. The corollaries were repealed by the FCC in 2000 but the legislators want those deep-sixed as well, which Genachowski said he expected would happen.
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell recently pointed out that it remained in regulatory code where it could be reinstated. Genachowski told the legislators that he fully supported deleting it, and related provisions, from the code as part of an ongoing regulatory review, but had not provided a timetable.
According to Upton and Walden, the chairman has now set an August date to remove the regs via a "streamlined delegated authority" process.
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