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Fairness Doctrine

One of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) most controversial policies, the Fairness Doctrine obligated U.S. broadcast licensees to seek out and present contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues of interest to the community in which the license was held. The commission reasoned if such programs were aired in sufficient amounts by a licensee, then the public interest, convenience, and necessity (PICN) would be better served, thus improving the likelihood for license renewal. The goal of the Fairness Doctrine was to foster discussion of important community issues, but it was ultimately set aside by the FCC because it was said to contravene that goal.

Set forth as FCC policy in 1949, the commission declared:

Radio [must] be maintained as a medium of free speech for the general public as ...
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