Outdated Fairness Doctrine Taken Off the Books

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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has taken the Fairness Doctrine, comprising 83 regulations, off the books for good.

The rules were intended to promote honest, balanced discussion of controversial issues by television and radio stations when introduced in 1949.

However, as more broadcast stations and cable channels have become available to the public over the years, the need for a federal mandate for a diversity of viewpoints was not necessary and the rules were abolished in 1987.

The outdated policy had not been enforced for more than two decades, despite calls by some liberals to bring it back.

Religious broadcasters especially objected to the rule, because it could have forced them to air views contrary to their biblical beliefs.

Julius Genachowski, the head of the FCC, said the fairness doctrine, ".holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead."

Genachowski called the Fairness Doctrine an unnecessary distraction with the potential to curb free speech.

The FCC was responding to a request by President Obama to improve or remove any rules that were out of date.

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