FCC Commissioner: Agency Looking to Police Newsrooms
Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 09:21 AM
In an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal, Ajit Pai says the Federal Communications Commission plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run, as part of a “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” reminiscent, he says, of the now-defunct controversial Fairness Doctrine.
“The FCC says the study is merely an objective fact-finding mission. The results will inform a report that the FCC must submit to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry,” Pai writes.
“This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the [Critical Information Needs] study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?”
Pai argues that the government “has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories,” and says it’s a “dangerous” first step toward “newsroom policing.”