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Media Institute Honors McDowell, Stephenson

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell will receive the Freedom of Speech Award from the Media Institute, the First Amendment think tank has announced.

Randall Stephenson, chairman of AT&T, which has a proposed merger (T-Mobile) being reviewed by McDowell and the other commissioners will also be honored. He will receive the American Horizon Award for "visionary leadership in promoting the vitality and independence of the telecommunications industry."

McDowell's award is for "vigorously opposing regulatory policies that would amount to government censorship of media content."

McDowell has been a particularly vocal opponent of the fairness doctrine, including pushing for its removal from the FCC rulebook.

The commission has not enforced the doctrine for almost a quarter century, but it has remained on the books, though FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has said he planned to strike it from the record as part of an overall regulatory review.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), a former telecom exec and onetime Virginia governor, will deliver the keynote address at the Institute's Oct. 18 awards dinner.