McDowell Criticizes Proposed Ascertainment Regs
April 24, 2008 at 5:23 AM (PT)
FCC Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL criticized proposed new public interest programming reporting requirements at the QUELLO COMMUNICATIONS LAW AND POLICY SYMPOSIUM in WASHINGTON on WEDNESDAY, calling additional regulation an "albatross" being added at a "tipping point" in history regarding regulation.
Noting the explosion of unregulated new media and technology, MCDOWELL said that the old ascertainment rules were dropped in 1984 and asked, "If market incentives were sufficient in 1984 to motivate broadcasters to stay in touch with their communities, today's much more competitive market will certainly drive stations to respond to local interests."
...government cannot outsmart an unfettered and competitive market.
He asked why the Commission needs to know specifics about what public-interest or religious programming aired and when, and concluded, "government cannot outsmart an unfettered and competitive market. The better course is to equip the private sector with the freedom and flexibility necessary to resolve challenges and satisfy consumer demand on its own, while remaining vigilant -- and ready -- to jump in to resolve genuine harms that cannot be addressed any other way."