FCC in Newsrooms: Proposed Study Prompts First Amendment Concerns

Friday, 21 Feb 2014 12:40 PM

By Michael Mullins

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The FCC's proposed presence in newsrooms across the country has become increasingly worrisome for First Amendment advocates.

The agency has proposed an initiative to monitor newsrooms for fairness in their coverage and potentially crack down on "perceived station bias," according to one of the agency's commissioners.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

In an attempt to quell concerns, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the FCC "has no intention of regulating political or other speech of journalists or broadcasters" in a letter addressed to House Republicans that was released on Thursday.

The letter to House Republicans did not sway Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn's concerns over the initiative.

"Everybody should be incredibly concerned," Blackburn told NewsmaxTV's "Steve Malzberg Show" on Thursday. "I do believe that that would be a violation of our First Amendment rights."

The controversy arose after FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai wrote an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal earlier in the month in which he said the FCC planned to send researchers to grill reporters, editors, and station owners about how they decide which stories run, as part of a study called the Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs.

Pai argued that the government "has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories," and wrote it's a "dangerous" first step toward "newsroom policing," adding that the study is reminiscent of the now-defunct controversial Fairness Doctrine.

In his letter to House Republicans, Wheeler insisted that the FCC study would not result in the policing of newsrooms, but rather it's a "tool intended to help the Commission consider effective, pro-competitive policies that would encourage new entrants," the National Journal reported.

Wheeler added that the FCC was currently in the process of revising the study to address the concerns expressed by some in the house, and that the program would be voluntary.

In an interview with NewsmaxTV on Thursday, former attorney and legal analyst Kendall Coffey scoffed at the FCC's vow that the surveillance program can be defined as voluntary.

Editor's Note: Do You Support Obamacare? Vote in Urgent National Poll

"It's going to raise big, big First Amendment questions," Coffey said.

"You don't have to go in, burn down the TV station, trash a newsroom to violate the First Amendment. The First Amendment can be violated by what they call a chilling effect," Coffey added. "In other words, people are simply deterred or intimidated about expressing their First Amendment rights and this seems to be exactly the kind of scenario which is going to tee up a strong challenge."

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
 
 
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

Tapeworm in Brain of Man for 4 Years Removed by Surgeons

Saturday, 22 Nov 2014 17:33 PM

A tapeworm that not only lived in a man's brain for four years but traveled from one side of the brain to the other has  . . .

Window Washer's 11-Story Fall Ends Atop Car - He Survived!

Saturday, 22 Nov 2014 17:14 PM

A window washer survived with critical injuries after falling 11 stories from the roof of a San Francisco bank building  . . .

Georgia O'Keefe $44 Million Painting Most for Woman Artist

Saturday, 22 Nov 2014 16:49 PM

A new world auction record for women artists was set when a painting by late American artist Georgia O'Keeffe sold for m . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved