Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps told Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) that the agency shouldn’t reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, reports B&C’s John Eggerton.
Barton had asked Copps to clarify some comments the chairman had made at Columbia University, when he talked about the government putting a tougher public interest test on broadcasters, the story notes.
The FCC dropped the doctrine in 1987 as unconstitutional. "As I said in a speech over a year and a half ago, the Fairness Doctrine is long gone and it’s not coming back," Copps said, the story notes.
Copps said that broadcasters need to serve their communities, but that some "larger media conglomerates" aren’t as frequently in touch since they operate from different locations.
"I do not think it is onerous to expect broadcasters, in exchange for free use of the airwaves, to engage in some level of dialog with citizens of a community of license about how issues of interest are being covered," he said.
The article concludes: "Barton had said in his letter that Copps was free to hold and express his opinions, but wanted to make sure that Copps was not suggesting it was the government’s job ‘to determine the content that is available for Americans to consume.’ Copps has consistently championed shorter license renewal periods, more detailed reporting requirements, and more specific public interest obligations for broadcasters."