There’s been much buzz in the conservative blogosphere, talk radio and newspapers about a predicted return of the Fairness Doctrine. A group of Republican Senators have pulled together a bill that “would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, which would suppress free speech by requiring the government to monitor political views and decide what constitutes fair political discourse.” From Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-South Carolina) website.
But is the Fairness Doctrine really in the cards? According to Craig Aaron (communications director of Free Press and blogger at savetheinternet.com)
The Fairness Doctrine is never, ever coming back — and that’s a good thing.
Let’s review: It wasn’t in the Democratic Party platform. No bill has been introduced in the Democrat-controlled Congress. No FCC rules are pending. And President-elect Barack Obama has stated unequivocally that he “does not support re-imposing” the Fairness Doctrine.
What’s more, there is no movement among media reformers, the netroots, or the vast left-wing conspiracy to bring it back. Nobody wants it: not Free Press or Common Cause, Media Matters or MoveOn, DailyKos or the Daily Worker.
James Rainey at the LA Times agrees.
So if the Fairness Doctrine shows little sign of returning, what’s to worry about (other than the economy, the wars, and the environment)? Here’s a smattering of questions:
- What would free national broadband wireless look like?
- Will the FCC back away from it’s role as a censor board?
- How to protect online speech if most internet speech is in private spaces?
- What does the trend to internet filtering systems as seen in China and Australia, proposed in the UK and Germany (article in German, here’s a writeup in English) mean?