Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Key Documents: Section I. Journalism, Media, and the Law - Regulating Electronic Media
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was given the authority by Congress back in 1934 to extensively regulate first radio and then, over time, network television, cable television, and direct broadcast satellites. Government control over what appears on air has always been greater than what circulates in print. As a result, many in the broadcast industry had complained that their First Amendment protections and choices were limited in comparison to those afforded newspapers and magazines. Congress justified the extreme FCC scrutiny of broadcasters by pointing to the relatively few on-air licenses available in comparison to societal demands. The FCC asked that broadcasters further earn the privilege of a license to use the airwaves by serving the public interest with a “fairness doctrine” that granted access not inherent in print publications. In the fairness doctrine, the FCC said broadcasters had to provide a reasonable amount of on-air time for examination of public ...