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Republicans Fight Fairness Doctrine with Broadcast Freedom Act

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate have introduced the Broadcaster’s Freedom Act, a bill intended to strip the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its authority to reinstitute the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” by codifying the status quo and protecting free speech. Sponsored by Congressmen Mike Pence (R-IN) and Greg Walden (R-OR) and Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) the bill will protect broadcasters from Congressional Democrats, along with President-elect Barack Obama, who are seeking to silence political opposition by reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine. "The American people love a fair fight, especially where the issues of the day are debated,” said Rep. Mike Pence, a former radio talk show host.  “In a free market, fairness should be determined based upon equal opportunity, not equal results. As some voices are calling for Congress to enforce their idea of ‘fairness’ upon the American people, it would be good for us to proceed with caution whenever some would achieve their ‘fairness’ by limiting the freedom of others.” The Fairness Doctrine was a former policy of the FCC that required holders of broadcast licenses to present both sides of controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was considered honest, equitable, and balanced according to the FCC and whatever political party was currently in charge of it. The policy was allowed to expire in 1987. Pence’s bill will prevent this bill from making a comeback. It states that “the Commission shall not have the authority to prescribe any rule, regulation, policy, doctrine, standard, or other requirement that has the purpose or effect of reinstating or repromulgating (in whole or in part) the requirement that broadcasters present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance, commonly referred to as the `Fairness Doctrine' . . .” A vigorous national debate on the issues of the day is one of the hallmarks of American democracy, says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "This act will protect broadcasters from those who seek to intimidate and silence any political opposition. Government regulation of political talk and thought goes against every ideal of this nation. I wholeheartedly support the Broadcaster Freedom Act and urge Congress to act in support of the First Amendment and a free press." Contact your representatives at http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ and ask them to support the Broadcaster Freedom Act. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace. http://www.womenofgrace.com

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