FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell warned against a return of the Fairness Doctrine and related media industry regulations that would limit free speech, in remarks to the Media Institute on Wednesday.
“Should it return again, as several current Members of Congress have called for, I doubt it would wear the same label. That’s just Marketing 101: if your brand is controversial, make a new brand. The Doctrine could be intertwined into other communications policy initiatives that are more certain to move through the system, such as localism, diversity or net neutrality,” said McDowell.
Here’s the latest:
- FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell’s speech.
- Multichannel News article on his remarks.
- Radio Ink article on his remarks.
Here’s a good background piece from George F. Will on the subject, from late last year.
As I’ve discussed and as indicated by McDowell, this effort to regulate speech and the media industry may come in a variety of names: Fairness Doctrine, ownership caps, localism, diversity and network neutrality, among others. So as a sidebar, for the benefit of future discussion I would like to develop a single term that refers to all such efforts. Perhaps “free media restrictions,” “media freedom restrictions,” “free speech regulations” or “Fairness Doctrine, etc,” or “free speech industry regulations.”