Skip to main content

Religious Broadcasters Still Wary of Fairness Doctrine in Guise of 'Localism'

National Religious Broadcasters President Dr. Frank Wright says he is "delighted" the FCC is removing the Fairness Doctrine from the federal rulebook, but says his group will continue to monitor the regulatory landscape to make sure that now that the letter of the law is dead, its spirit does not live on in other initiatives.

"We are delighted that FCC Chairman Genachowski has followed through on his promise to fully eliminate this pernicious rule, which enabled the FCC to compel broadcasters to air opposing viewpoints on controversial issues that the government decided to be of public importance," said Wright in a statement.

But while Wright was celebrating, he added a word of caution. "There are many voices calling for increased scrutiny of broadcast programming under the guise of ‘localism,' and we see such proposals as a Fairness Doctrine in different garb. Therefore, NRB will continue to advocate for the most generous application of First Amendment principles both at the federal level and on the local level, knowing that Americans' religious liberties are most secure when they are kept out of the hands of government bureaucracies."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.