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Fairness Doctrine

The term fairness doctrine traditionally refers to a form of content regulation imposed on broadcast media aimed to ensure fair coverage of relevant and controversial topics in current affairs. The first and most notable example was the policy decided and implemented in the United States by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 1949 until 1987. Based on the rationale that broadcasting frequencies, being a scarce resource, had to be operated in the public interest, the policy was later repealed when technological developments overcame the scarcity argument and its incompatibility with the First Amendment became apparent. This entry discusses the origins and aims of the fairness doctrine in the United States, the implementation of the policy, constitutional challenges the policy faced, and the repeal of the ...

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