A Victory for Free Speech as the FCC Kills Remaining Fairness Doctrine Rules

On Monday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski made the announcement that 83 archaic agency rules, including the anti-speech Fairness Doctrine, were eliminated from the FCC register. The eradication of the remaining Fairness Doctrine language, in particular, is a significant victory for free speech, placing the final nail in the coffin of this anti-First Amendment regulation.

What made the Fairness Doctrine so abhorrent was that it granted the FCC to determine what broadcasts were “fair and balanced” and mandate broadcasters give equal weight to opposing points of view. While it was deemed unconstitutional in 1987 and subsequently unenforced, some Democrats have brought up the idea of once again implementing the Fairness Doctrine in the past couple of years.

On the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) stated:

“The federal government should not be in the business of regulating speech. By permanently eliminating the so-called Fairness Doctrine, we’ll ensure that markets, not the government, will continue to dictate what people hear over the airwaves.”
The move by the FCC to eliminate the final Fairness Doctrine language from its books shows that efforts by the government to deter free speech through this rule are no longer a possibility. Whether broadcasting over airwaves or online, the First Amendment should be protected for all content creators, distributors, and users.