Speaking Feb. 28 before a gathering of religious broadcasters in Nashville, TN, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH, said “freedom and free expression” are under attack from regulators who have no firsthand experience in the broadcast industry.
In the speech, delivered at the NRB 2011 Convention and Expo, Boehner targeted the FCC and certain unnamed members of Congress for efforts to regulate the Internet and to reinstate some form of the Fairness Doctrine.
“Right now, freedom and free expression are under attack by a power structure in Washington populated with regulators who have never set foot inside a radio station or a television studio,” he said.
Branding the Fairness Doctrine “a censorship scheme from the 1940s,” Boehner said some members of Congress and the Washington bureaucracy wish to reinstate and expand it.
“To them, it’s fair to silence ideas and voices they don’t agree with, and use the tools of government to do it,” he said.
The new Republican majority in the House is committed to seeing that the Fairness Doctrine is not reinstated, he said. Congressmen Greg Walden, R-OR, and Mike Pence, R-IN, have introduced legislation “to help keep the airwaves free,” he said.
The FCC is also trying to regulate the Internet through its recent Net Neutrality regulations, which Boehner said will give the federal bureaucracy a means to regulate content and discriminate against viewpoints it doesn’t like.
“The last thing we need, in my view, is the FCC serving as Internet traffic controller and potentially running roughshod over local broadcasters who have been serving their communities with free content for decades,” he said.
Boehner said his party’s new majority in the House “is committed to using every tool at our disposal to fight a government takeover of the Internet.” He said the House will take up a resolution of disapproval introduced by Walden to reverse the FCC’s net neutrality actions.