FCC chair restates opposition to doctrine

July 26, 2007 at 2:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman, in a letter Thursday to Congress, renewed his opposition to attempts to revive the Fairness Doctrine.

Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin said in a statement he saw "no compelling reason" to reinstate the doctrine that required broadcasters to offer opposing points of view on political issues. The FCC abolished the doctrine in 1987, arguing the mandate hindered journalistic freedom.

Several lawmakers have called for a revival of the doctrine, arguing that radio talk shows, dominated by conservatives, presented a one-sided view of legislation being considered.

Martin said events since the abolition "confirmed the wisdom" of the decision.

"Discussion of controversial issues over the airwaves has flourished absent regulatory constraints, and the public now enjoys access to an ever-expanding range of views and opinions," he wrote.

Moving through Congress is legislation that would ensure "no future administration or FCC chairman have the power to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine without an act of Congress," according to a statement by two of the bill's sponsors, Reps. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Greg Walden, R-Ore.

The two congressmen commended Martin for his "commitment to free and independent airwaves in America."

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