The Federal Communications Commission announced today that it has officially taken the Fairness Doctrine out of its rulebook, Multichannel News reports. The move includes striking the doctrine’s corollaries on personal attacks and free response, and extends to 83 other media-related rules the agency says are not needed.
According to the report: “The FCC has not enforced the doctrine, which required broadcasters to affirmatively seek out opposing viewpoints on controversial issues, in almost a quarter century. However, it continued to cast a shadow over the agency from the viewpoint of many Republicans; broadcasters, particularly religious broadcasters; and others concerned about the speech regulation implications of its return.
The doctrine was effectively eliminated back in 1987, a move that helped create the landscape for conservative talk radio, the report says.
The story adds: “FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and President Barack Obama had said they did not support the doctrine and that it was not coming back. But some Republicans saw its shadow in issues like proposals of community advisory boards for TV station public interest programming.”
Genachowski said in a statement today: "The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction. As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead. The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books."