FOR RELEASE: February 23, 2021

Contact: Richard T. Kaplar
The Media Institute

Arlington, Va., February 23, 2021 – Media Institute President Richard T. Kaplar issued the following statement regarding a letter from two House members to several media companies:

“The letter from two members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to several cable, satellite, and streaming services demanding that they explain their moral or ethical principles in deciding which channels to carry, and that these content distributors explain why they plan to continue carrying certain news channels, is an affront to the First Amendment.  This can be seen as nothing other than an attempt by government officials to chill the speech of certain news outlets by intimidating their distributors.

“The spread of misinformation and disinformation in society is a legitimate concern.  But this concern must be addressed in ways that do not run afoul of the First Amendment.  It is not the place of legislators, either by virtue of the First Amendment or the Communications Act, to attempt to control the content of media outlets.”

The Media Institute is a nonprofit research foundation working to advance sound communications policy, freedom of speech, and excellence in journalism.  For more information, visit the Institute online at

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