Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  In an effort to prevent Democrats from suppressing the right to free speech for talk radio and other broadcasters, Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and John Thune (R-SD) today introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007 (S.1748). The bill would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine, which would require the government to monitor political views and decide what constitutes fair political discourse. Identical legislation was also introduced by Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) in the House of the Representatives.

"At its core, this is about the right to free speech. Our founders put the first amendment first for a reason. It protects all Americans' right to free speech, regardless of political affiliation or views. The Democrats' attempt to regulate and stifle ideas is a grave threat our liberties," said Senator Coleman. "Since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, talk radio has flourished due to free market ideas. We mustn't put the government in control over the political views expressed on the public airwaves. I applaud Congressman Pence for being a leader on this issue. Senators DeMint, Thune and I will continue working with our colleagues in the Senate to pass this critical legislation."

"Here they go again. Democrats showed in the immigration debate they will once again try resurrect the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine', which is nothing more than an attempt to muzzle the free speech of conservative Americans. If liberals had their way, this unfair doctrine would give the heavy hand of government control over talk radio. We must act now to preserve all American's first amendment rights," said Senator DeMint.

"It's not surprising that some liberal voices are frustrated with talk radio, but rather than debate the issues they prefer to regulate voices they don't agree with. The First Amendment doesn't work that way. The bill we have introduced will help protect the vibrant marketplace of ideas we have today in our media," said Senator Thune. "Our country was founded on the principle of freedom of speech. I advise every American to be hesitant when government officials offer to regulate the media to ensure fairness. I will do my part to ensure speech remains free and Americans and our diverse forms of media can continue to debate the issues of the day in a free and open manner."

"It is up to the U.S. Congress to ensure that freedom continues to reign on the airwaves of America. I am pleased to be joined by Senators Coleman, DeMint and Thune as we work together to address this threat to free speech and ensure that this archaic doctrine of unfairness is never again imposed on the American people," said Congressman Pence.

The Fairness Doctrine was implemented by the FCC in 1949 in an attempt to ensure balanced and fair coverage of controversial subject matter by broadcasters. In 1985, the FCC determined that the Fairness Doctrine was no longer necessary due to the emergence of a "multiplicity of voices in the marketplace." The FCC was also of the view that the Fairness Doctrine may have violated the First Amendment. In a 1987 case, the courts declared that the doctrine was not mandated by Congress and the FCC did not have to continue to enforce it. Twice, Congress has passed legislation restoring Fairness Doctrine, but Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush vetoed the bills.

Co-sponsors of this legislation include Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Larry Craig (R-ID), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), George Voinovich (R-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kit Bond (R-MO), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Pat Roberts (R-KS).