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FCC drops study of U.S. newsrooms

March 1, 2014 at 3:14 PM

WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) -- A study of how journalists actually gather news is being halted, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission says.

A spokesman said Friday the Critical Information Needs study was aimed at finding barriers to entry into the news business, not at trying to monitor and control how journalists do their work, The Hill reported. But he said the FCC will find some other way to study the issue.

"The commission will reassess the best way to fulfill its obligation to Congress to identify barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses," he said.

Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the FCC, wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal headlined "The FCC wades into the newsroom." His criticism created a backlash, including the introduction of legislation to bar the agency from any similar journalism studies in the future.

"I am pleased that the FCC has canceled its Critical Information Needs study," Pai said in a statment Friday quoted by the Journal.

"In our country, the government does not tell the people what information they need. Instead, news outlets and the American public decide that for themselves."

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