Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

50 Federal Communications Law Journal 711 (1998)


The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has recently reinterpreted its funding policy regarding religious programming to create a policy more consistent with the religion clauses of the First Amendment and more responsive to the goal of government neutrality toward religion. Until 1996, the NTIA categorically denied all funding to government programming that provided any incidental or attenuated benefit to religion. However, in light of recent Establishment Clause cases, the NTIA modified its interpretation of sectarian programming, allowing a radio station to receive government funding even if its programming provides an attenuated or incidental benefit to religion. The NTIA's new interpretation of its policy on sectarian programming has important implications for telecommunications and constitutional law and may signal a less restrictive and more substantively neutral stance toward religion in the area of public broadcasting.