Federal Communications Law Journal

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Publication Date


Publication Citation

50 Federal Communications Law Journal 605 (1998)


During the last eighty years, there is likely no single area of communications policy that has generated as much scholarly discourse, judicial analysis, and political debate as has the simple directive to regulate in the "public interest." While remaining at the heart of current communications regulatory policy debate, the public interest standard has been subject to evolving, and often elusive definitions that reflect the change in American culture from generation to generation. As broadcasters begin the transition to a more flexible digital technology, there have been calls for a reexamination of the public interest standard. But the genius of the public interest standard is its breadth and flexibility, and the advent of digital television should not be an occasion for increasing public interest requirements. If anything, the development of new technologies justifies greater reliance on broadcasters and the market to ensure service to the public.