ERIC Number: ED238033
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Public Broadcasting and the Fairness Doctrine: A Continued Mandate?
The fairness doctrine states that broadcasters must devote a reasonable amount of time covering contrasting views of public issues. The debate over abolition of the doctrine has largely ignored the possibility that public broadcast stations licensed to government entities may be subject to political and constitutional pressures that would warrant a continued fairness mandate even in the wake of the doctrine's abolition for commercial broadcasters. Although network as well as public station news elicits charges of unfair coverage, commercial broadcasters' fairness obligations could be eliminated because (1) their congressional lobby is extremely effective, (2) the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) favors eliminating the doctrine, and (3) elimination would be consistent with the deregulation philosophy of the current (Reagan) presidential administration. The rationale for requiring public stations to observe a balance requirement may be more philosophical than practical, since their audience is small and their impact predictably minimal. Nevertheless, a balance requirement prevents the use of a government mass media outlet to promulgate an official point of view and provides public stations with discretion in choosing spokespersons to offer contrasting viewpoints and deciding the form in which those views will be presented. (HTH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Community
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Fairness Doctrine; Federal Communications Commission; Media Role; Public Broadcasting
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (Albuquerque, NM, February 19-22, 1983).