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Walden Wants Newsroom Study Eradicated


One of broadcasting's best friends in Washington wants the government to stay out of newsrooms. Congressman Greg Walden (R-Ore) plans to introduce legislation to make sure the FCC's Critical Information Needs study is wiped out. The study originally included the questioning of journalists and other news professionals regarding their decision-making processes and news philosophy. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says the study will be changed but Walden isn't taking any chances. Walden’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee plans to hold a hearing and introduce legislation to stop the study.

Walden said Tuesday, “The very existence of this CIN study is an affront to the First Amendment and should have never been proposed in the first place. As someone with a journalism degree, I was alarmed from the moment I saw it, which is why we wrote to Chairman Wheeler in December to urge him to stop the study. To date, Chairman Wheeler has insisted upon only making small tweaks, and what he has proposed to do isn’t enough. The study should be eradicated completely. The potential for violation of the First Amendment is exceptionally egregious, but it is also concerning that the commission believes it can prescribe what ‘critical information needs’ are in communities across the country.”

Walden compared the CIN study to the Fairness Doctrine. "It took nearly 25 years to get the Fairness Doctrine off the books once it had been 'eliminated' in 1987, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure this study or any other effort by the government to control the output of America’s newsrooms never sees the light of day.”

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