Bills Aim to Block 'Fairness Doctrine' Return

Ad Feedback

Congressional Republicans have introduced new legislation to stop any attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine was abolished 21 years ago. It required radio and TV stations to offer equal air time to opposing views on issues.

Requiring Anti-Christian Views

Some Republicans feel that at a time when Christianity has become controversial, a revived Fairness Doctrine could be used to press Christian stations to air anti-Christian views.

Rep. Greg Walden, a former owner of radio stations in Oregon, told CBN News that he worries how a re-instated Fairness Doctrine could stifle free speech and religious freedom.

"It affects what you would hear on the airwaves, because you would have the word 'nanny-police' at the Federal Communications Commission trying to decide whether you had the right opposing viewpoint or not," Walden said.

"Does that mean if you're preaching about the Gospels and your belief about those Gospels, that you have to bring on somebody who opposes everything you say?" he asked.

Broadcasters' Freedom

The American Center for Law and Justice also says it supports the Broadcaster Freedom Act - a measure introduced in Congress that would prevent the troubling Fairness Doctrine from ever returning.

The ACLJ received nearly 135,000 signatures on a petition last year urging Congress to approve the Act.

"A return of the Fairness Doctrine would be devastating to Christian broadcasters by putting the federal government in charge of telling broadcasters what to air," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ.

"Such a move would put the federal government in control of dictating the content of what's aired effectively muzzling Christian broadcasters," Sekulow said.

"That's precisely why the Broadcaster Freedom Act is so important," he said. "We believe passage of this measure is paramount to protecting free speech."

Talk Radio Hosts Concerned

Conservative talk-radio hosts also believe a new Democratic-led FCC could reinstate the rule, thereby impacting the ability of radio stations to run conservative talk shows.

On Wednesday, three bills were presented to keep the FCC from acting, two by Senate Republicans and one by House Republicans.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is one of the sponsors of the Senate bills. In a statement, the Oklahoma senator called the Fairness Doctrine a serious threat to free speech " and warned it "muzzles" the expression of opinion.

"It is a dangerous maneuver to enact more government 'policing' on our airwaves," Inhofe wrote. "Now, with Democrats in the control of the House, Senate, and White House, the threat of its reenactment is more real than ever."

"The content of talk radio shows is market driven; it's simple supply and demand," Inhofe explained. "If more people want to listen to a certain type of talk radio, then those programs will be sustained by advertising, donations, and other sources."

"It is clear that the Democrats fear the growing audience for conservative talk radio," he added. "If the demand for liberal programming were greater, perhaps there would be more shows with that content."

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., who co-sponsored the House bill, warned that a return of the doctrine would cause major problems.

"It is dangerous to suggest that the government should be in the business of rationing free speech," Pence said.

Sources:  The Associated Press, CBN News, ACLJ

Log in or create an account to post a comment.  


Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting? Are you facing a difficult situation?

Find peace with God, discover more about God or send us your prayer request.

Call The 700 Club Prayer Center at 1 (800) 823-6053, 24 hours a day.

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.

CBN News

CBN News is a national/international, nonprofit news organization that provides programming by cable, satellite, and the Internet, 24-hours a day. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.