While the NAB concentrated on extending analog television, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg pushed through an amendment to the DTV legislation that orders the FCC to recommend specific amounts of broadcast public interest programming, including election coverage.
Approved by a 13-8 vote, the provision was a setback for broadcasters who argued that such specific programming requirements infringe their right of free speech.
The provision got the support of Lautenburg’s Democratic colleague, Sen. Byron Dorgan, who said public interest obligations go back to the 1930s, and what Sen. Lautenberg is requiring is minimal.
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