Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

47 Federal Communications Law Journal 51 (1994)


The "Fairness Doctrine" refers to a former policy of the Federal Communications Commission wherein a broadcast station which presented one viewpoint on a controversial public issue had to afford the opposing viewpoint an opportunity to be heard. The FCC ceased to enforce the doctrine in 1987, reasoning that the doctrine actually decreased the viewpoints heard by discouraging broadcasters from covering controversial issues out of fear of censure by the FCC. The Author explores the historical development of the Fairness Doctrine and examines the flaws with the different rationales upon which the doctrine is based. The Autho concludes that today's marketplace acts as an alternative to the Fairness Doctrine by providing numerous media outlets with specialty formats catering to particular viewpoints; therefore, the Fairness Doctrine is unnecessary and should not be revived.

Symposium: The Transformation of Television News