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FCC Regulation "Serve the Public Interest" and Our Elections

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American Statesman

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Federal Communications Commission FCC 99-390

  • "Television is the primary source of news and information to Americans"
  • For over seventy years, broadcasters have been required by statute to serve the “public interest, convenience, and necessity.”3 Congress has charged the Federal Communications Commission with the responsibility of implementing and enforcing this public interest requirement.

  • Communications Act of 1934, the Commission may issue, renew, or approve the transfer of a broadcast license only upon first finding that doing so will serve the public interest. There has been considerable debate over the years about how the Commission should carry out this statutory mandate. Currently, broadcasters must comply with a number of affirmative public interest programming and service obligations. For example, broadcast licensees must provide coverage of issues facing their communities and place lists of programming used in providing significant treatment of such issues in their public inspection files.6 Broadcasters must also comply with statutory political broadcasting requirements regarding equal opportunities, charges for political advertising, and reasonable access for federal candidates.7

  • Copied from http://transition.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Mass_Media/Notices/1999/fcc99390.txt

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