< Back to H.R. 1985 (103rd Congress, 1993–1994)
Text of the Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993
This bill was introduced on May 5, 1993, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jan 27, 1994 (Introduced).
103d CONGRESS 2d Session H. R. 1985 To clarify the congressional intent concerning, and to codify, certain requirements of the Communications Act of 1934 that ensure that broadcasters afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES May 5, 1993 Mr. Hefner (for himself, Mrs. Mink, Mr. Filner, Mr. Durbin, Mrs. Unsoeld, Mr. Clay, Ms. Slaughter, and Mr. Tanner) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce September 7, 1993 Additional sponsors: Mr. Bonior, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Wise, Mr. Lancaster, Ms. Furse, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Abercrombie, Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Hinchey, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Traficant, Mrs. Schroeder, Mr. Bryant, Mr. Torres, Mr. Waxman, Mr. Derrick, Mr. Hastings, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Frost, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Glickman, and Mr. Hamburg January 27, 1994 Additional sponsors: Mr. Yates, Mr. Pickett, and Mr. Johnson of South Dakota Deleted sponsors: Mr. McDermott (added May 12, 1993; deleted September 27, 1993), and Mr. Frost (added August 3, 1993; deleted September 22, 1993) _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To clarify the congressional intent concerning, and to codify, certain requirements of the Communications Act of 1934 that ensure that broadcasters afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. The Congress finds that-- (1) despite technological advances, the electromagnetic spectrum remains a scarce and valuable public resource; (2) there are still substantially more people who want to broadcast than there are frequencies to allocate; (3) a broadcast license confers the right to use a valuable public resource and a broadcaster is therefore required to utilize that resource as a trustee for the American people; (4) there is a substantial governmental interest in conditioning the award or renewal of a broadcast license on the requirement that the licensee assure that widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources by presenting a reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance; (5) while new video and audio services have been proposed and introduced, many have not succeeded and even those that are operating reach a far smaller audience than broadcast stations; (6) even when and where new video and audio services are available, they do not provide meaningful alternatives to broadcast stations for the dissemination of news and public affairs; (7) for more than thirty years; the Fairness Doctrine and its corollaries, as developed by the Federal Communications Commission on the basis of the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, have enhanced free speech by securing the paramount right of the broadcast audience to robust debate on issues of public importance; (8) because the Fairness Doctrine only requires more speech, it has no chilling effect on broadcasters; and (9) the Fairness Doctrine (A) fairly reflects the statutory obligation of broadcasters under that Act to operate in the public interest, (B) was given statutory approval by the Congress in making certain amendments to that Act in 1959, and (C) strikes a reasonable balance among the first amendment rights of the public, broadcast licensees, and speakers other than owners of broadcast facilities. SEC. 3. AMENDMENT TO THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934. Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 315) is amended-- (1) by redesignating subsections (a) through (d) as subsections (b) through (e), respectively; and (2) by inserting before subsection (b) the following new subsection: ``(a)(1) A broadcast licensee shall afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance. ``(2) The enforcement and application of the requirement imposed by this subsection shall be consistent with the rules and policies of the Commission in effect on January 1, 1987. Such rules and policies shall not be construed to authorize the application of any criminal sanction pursuant to section 501 of this Act.''. SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Act and the amendment to the Communications Act of 1934 added by this Act shall take effect upon the date of enactment of this Act.