Media & Communications Policy

Media & Communications Policy

Issues & Developments in the Realm of Communications and Media Policy & the First Amendment

Category Archives: Media Regulation

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The ITU and the Internet

Posted in Digital technology, FCC, Free speech, International Jurisdiction, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
In 1971, when China was first admitted to the United Nations, William Rusher quipped that it was "a case of loosing a China in the bullshop." Such is the first thought that comes to mind in reflection on the latest bit of mischief to issue from the UN, in this case courtesy of that body's International Telecommunications Union (ITU)… Continue Reading

Google and the First Amendment

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment, Media Regulation
By guest blogger KURT WIMMER, ESQ., partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., and chairman of The Media Institute’s First Amendment Advisory Council. I just had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion at an American Antitrust Institute conference.  My panel included such luminaries as Eli Noam of Columbia, Gene Kimmelman of … Continue Reading

Julius Genachowski and Broadband Billing

Posted in Broadband, Digital technology, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
Comments made earlier this week by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski have raised hackles at organizations like Free Press and kindred groups.  The occasion was the Cable Show in Boston, and the offending subject was what is called “usage-based billing” – the radical notion that people who use more of a thing should pay more than … Continue Reading

Locking Up Reporters at the DOL

Posted in Media Regulation
If, like many people, you’re an investor, you are already familiar with the market-moving impact of government data, like the Department of Labor’s monthly payrolls and unemployment figures.  What you probably don’t know are the ways in which the DOL has for decades arranged for release of this information, or of their plans to change … Continue Reading

Net Neutrality’s Poison Petition

Posted in Broadband, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
For those in the communications policy business, perhaps the most jaw-dropping datum to issue from Tuesday’s elections is this: Of the 95 candidates for the House and Senate who signed a petition encouraging “net neutrality” regulation, all of them lost.  Not some of them.  Not most of them.  All of them. It’s really quite remarkable.  … Continue Reading

Shedding Light on Title II and the First Amendment

Posted in Broadband, FCC, First Amendment, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
Now that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed what Broadcasting & Cable’s John Eggerton artfully calls a “Title II Lite” approach to broadband regulation, it’s a good time to take a second look (or maybe your first) at a recent paper by Robert Corn-Revere. Bob wrote a Perspectives policy paper for The Media Institute titled … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit’s ‘Net Neutrality’ Decision

Posted in Broadband, Cable TV, FCC, Media jurisprudence, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
The D.C. Circuit Court’s decision, while obviously correct, will not slake the thirst of anyone looking for intellectual arguments for or against the FCC’s proposed regulation of the ISPs’ network-management practices. Because the court ruled that the FCC lacked the "ancillary" authority it asserted, the body of the decision amounts to little more than a … Continue Reading

Net Neutrality: Whose First Amendment?

Posted in Broadband, FCC, First Amendment, Free speech, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
It shouldn’t come as any great revelation that when the government proposes regulations affecting the media, there very well might be implications for the First Amendment.  Raising such concerns, and then examining their validity, is a normal part of the regulatory process. Kyle McSlarrow did just that last Wednesday in a speech to a Media … Continue Reading

Dueling Philosophies on Minority Ownership

Posted in Broadcasting, FCC, Localism, Media Consolidation, Media Regulation, Public Interest Standard, Radio
What happens when you invite the FCC’s two veteran commissioners to speak about the media at a Rainbow PUSH Coalition symposium?  When one of the commissioners is Michael Copps, and the other is Robert McDowell, you get two very different views of where things stand and how they could be improved, as we saw on … Continue Reading

Commissioner Michael Copps and Media Ownership

Posted in Broadcasting, FCC, Journalism, Media Consolidation, Media Regulation
Owing to his earnest and mild-mannered (if intellectually scruffy) ways, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has rarely inspired anger.  No matter how wrong-headed his views – and he’s been wrong about virtually everything for the whole of his time as a Commissioner – he’s been accorded that kind of tolerance that people bestow on those seen … Continue Reading

A Unitary First Amendment – Redux

Posted in Broadcasting, Cable TV, Campaign Finance, FCC, First Amendment, Media jurisprudence, Media Legislation, Media Regulation, Public Interest Standard, Satellite Communications
By guest blogger LAURENCE H. WINER, Professor of Law and Faculty Fellow, Center for Law, Science & Technology, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. “[W]e don’t put our First Amendment rights in the hands of [government] bureaucrats.”  What an extraordinary statement for the Chief Justice of the United States to … Continue Reading

Dan Rather Has an Idea

Posted in Broadcasting, Journalism, Media criticism, Media Regulation, Newspaper-Broadcast Cross Ownership
According to stories in the Aspen Daily News and the Aspen Times, newspapers of record for the nation’s elite snowboarders, Dan Rather gave a speech at the Aspen Institute on Tuesday, asking that President Obama create a national commission to “save journalism.” As one of the papers put it, without a skosh of irony, “Rather … Continue Reading

Filling the Open Seats at the FCC

Posted in FCC, Media Regulation
Late Friday afternoon the Senate confirmed Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Baker to fill the last of the open seats at the FCC.  Though not yet sworn in as this note is being posted, it is assumed that both will be joining Michael Copps, Robert McDowell, and Julius Genachowski as commissioners within a few days. We … Continue Reading

Back to Square One

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Broadcasting, Content Controls, FCC, First Amendment, Media jurisprudence, Media Regulation
Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions most awaited by First Amendment advocates this term have landed with a thud.  Or maybe a whimper.  But certainly not with a bang. On April 28, the Court upheld the FCC’s power to implement a tougher policy against so-called “fleeting expletives” on live television.  This was the Second Circuit’s … Continue Reading

A Disappointing Delay on Cross Ownership

Posted in FCC, Media Regulation, Newspaper-Broadcast Cross Ownership, Public Interest Standard
Since January we’ve heard a lot of talk about changing the way the government does business.  At the FCC, however, it looks like it’s still just talk.  When it comes to the newspaper-broadcast cross ownership rules, at least, the times … they definitely are NOT a-changin’. This week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the … Continue Reading

Hate Speech and the First Amendment

Posted in Broadcasting, Content Controls, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, First Amendment, Free speech, Media Regulation, Radio
“If you bring up the First Amendment, you’re a racist.”  In so many words that’s the message – or threat – to anyone who would dare question the constitutionality of a proposal that the government launch an inquiry into media content.      The threat is leveled by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) in a … Continue Reading

Shadow Debate

Posted in Broadcasting, Cable a la carte, Content Controls, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, First Amendment, Localism, Media Regulation, Public Interest Standard
By guest blogger ROBERT CORN-REVERE, partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLC, Washington, D.C. During the presidential campaign, and particularly since the election, conservative talk radio and the blogosphere have been abuzz with rumors that the Democratic agenda would include reviving the Fairness Doctrine.  Prominent media activists have labeled such claims as fantasy and asserted they have … Continue Reading

Obama and the Media, Part II

Posted in Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
Apart from the economic effects of President Obama’s fiscal and regulatory policies, there arises the question of how “business friendly” he may prove to be. The media and communications sector plays a large and important role in the general economy, and the new Administration’s stance on issues that matter to this sector may answer that … Continue Reading

Obama and the Media, Part I

Posted in Content Controls, Media Consolidation, Media Regulation
Writing in Broadcasting & Cable as chairman of the American Business Leadership Institute, the gifted Adonis Hoffman*       suggests that business has nothing to fear from an Obama Administration.  Some early tests of Hoffman’s thesis will come in that corner of the nation’s economy that we care about most — the media and communications sector.  … Continue Reading