By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable Online, 4-18-20
FCC chairman Ajit Pai has asked the chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to speak out against Free Press’s emergency petition to the FCC to stop what that group said was “right-wing personalities” spreading disinformation about the pandemic.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) had asked Pai “to reassure broadcasters that the FCC will not revoke licenses for airing legally protected speech,” a request prompted by President Trump’s campaign, which threatened – then followed suit – to sue stations over carrying an advertisement critical of the President that they said was deceptive.
In his response to Pallone, Pai assured him that he had “always stood firmly in the defense of the First Amendment for all Americans,” adding: “Under the Constitution and the Communications Act, broadcast stations have broad discretion to decide what programming to air on their stations. Absent very narrow circumstances, the government cannot and should not investigate stations or revoke licenses based on programming the station airs.” » Read More