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FCC suspends attack, editorializing rules for 60 days

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    NMU         WASHINGTON, D.C.         Broadcasting         Oct 6, 2000    

FCC suspends attack, editorializing rules for 60 days

  • Throughout the rest of the election season, broadcasters will be able to air candidate endorsements and stories critical of individuals without having to provide free air time for responses.

In the wake of a motion filed by the Radio-Television News Directors Association and the National Association of Broadcasters, the FCC decided on Oct. 4 to suspend the remaining elements of the Fairness Doctrine — the personal attack and political editorializing rules.

For the next 60 days broadcasters will be able to air candidate endorsements and stories critical of individuals without having to provide free air time for responses. The 3-2 vote for suspension comes within 35 days of the presidential election.

The FCC is asking broadcasters to keep track of the number of editorials run during the 60 days, the nature of the elections on which they editorialize — whether national, state or local — and whether other media outlets are editorializing on the same elections. They are also to report on the number of editorials run during prior election cycles. In addition, the broadcasters have been asked to monitor any complaints registered by viewers concerning personal attacks.

The FCC told the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. that it is going to use the information to decide whether to modify the existing rules or eliminate them.

(Radio-Television News Directors Ass’n v. FCC) TH

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