[JURIST] The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] will not reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, according to a letter [excerpts] released Thursday to Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) [official website] by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. The Fairness Doctrine [MBC backgrounder], under which broadcast licenses could be revoked if the broadcaster failed to give airtime to opposing sides of controversial issues, was struck down by the FCC in 1987. Recently, Democratic lawmakers have pushed for Congress to consider reinstating the doctrine, after recent attacks on immigration reform bills by radio talk shows. Pence and other lawmakers responded by introducing the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007 [HR 2905 text], which would prevent reinstatement of the doctrine.
Pence welcomed the FCC's announcement in a joint statement with Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) [official website]:
We commend the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission for his commitment to free and independent airwaves in America. Nevertheless it is imperative that Congress pass the Broadcaster Freedom Act to ensure that no future administration or FCC chairman have the power to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine without an act of Congress. Congress should heed the call of Chairman Martin and permanently reject the Fairness Doctrine by enacting the Broadcast Freedom Act into law.AP has more.