Federal Communications Commission officially drops ‘fairness doctrine’ from rulebook

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, August 22, 2011 19:36 EDT
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Monday that it had eliminated the fairness doctrine and 83 other “obsolete” provisions from its rulebook.

The fairness doctrine required broadcasters to present opposing views of controversial issues and was introduced in 1949, but the FCC stopped enforcing it in 1987. However, the doctrine was still technically on the agency’s rulebooks.

“The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. “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,” he added. “I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books.”

The agency began a review of its rules in response to President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13563 on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review. In its review, the FCC hopes to eliminate rules that are no longer needed and revise rules to reflect changes in technology.

“I have directed each bureau at the FCC to conduct a review of rules within their areas with the goal of eliminating or revising rules that are outdated or place needless burdens on businesses,” Genachowski said. “We are also in the process of developing a retrospective review plan, pursuant to the recent Executive Order. We will continue on this regulatory reform track thoughtfully and diligently conducting our reviews of existing rules and taking other important steps to meet our statutory obligation and mission in a way that grows our economy, creates jobs and benefits all Americans.”

Image courtesy of the Knight Foundation

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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