Rep. Greg Walden To Propose Bill, Hearing To Stop FCC Newsroom Study
February 26, 2014 at 3:56 AM (PT)
House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Rep. GREG WALDEN (R-OR) will propose a bill to prevent the FCC from proceeding with its controversial newsroom Critical Information Needs (CIN) study, the Congressman announced TUESDAY (2/25). The "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs" is presently being retooled by FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER due to fears that the study constitutes an attempt by the government to interfere in newsroom decisions and could lead to a reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine.
In his release, WALDEN noted that the study "originally included the questioning of journalists and other news professionals regarding their decision-making processes and news philosophy," and that while WHEELER is having the study changed, the Subcommittee "plans to hold a hearing and introduce legislation to stop the study."
WALDEN said, “The very existence of this CIN study is an affront to the First Amendment and should have never been proposed in the first place. As someone with a journalism degree, I was alarmed from the moment I saw it, which is why we wrote to Chairman WHEELER in DECEMBER to urge him to stop the study. To date, Chairman WHEELER has insisted upon only making small tweaks, and what he has proposed to do isn’t enough. The study should be eradicated completely. The potential for violation of the First Amendment is exceptionally egregious, but it is also concerning that the commission believes it can prescribe what ‘critical information needs’ are in communities across the country.”
He added, “It took nearly 25 years to get the Fairness Doctrine off the books once it had been 'eliminated' in 1987, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure this study or any other effort by the government to control the output of AMERICA’s newsrooms never sees the light of day.”