NRB: Heartened by Promised Veto of Fairness Doctrine

The National Religious Broadcasters is encouraged by a promise by President Bush to veto any legislation reinstating the Fairness Doctrine.

The president’s top economic advisor, Allan Hubbard, has been quoted in published reports as saying as the number of media outlets has increased, the case for bringing back the Fairness Doctrine is weak and the president would veto any legislation reinstating it.

But the broadcast group says the struggle for the freedom to broadcast is far from over.

“The president’s bold promise to keep the long-discredited Fairness Doctrine from putting a stranglehold on broadcasters is yet another positive sign in this debate,” stated NRB President/CEO Dr. Frank Wright. “But vigilance is the watchword on this issue.

“While we are heartened by this newest development, we are still concerned about the position of future presidents, and future FCC commissioners.”

The Fairness Doctrine, which the FCC said in 1987, was no longer needed as media outlets proliferated, mandated that broadcasters provide airtime for competing viewpoints on subjects, with severe sanctions for failure to comply. Some Democratic lawmakers recently have called for the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.

The FCC found then that such an unprecedented control over program content would actually reduce rather than increase viewpoint diversity, and might lead to heavy-handed, politically motivated government intimidation against certain broadcasters, according to NRB Senior Vice President/General Counsel Craig Parshall.

(Radio World)