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Walden, Pence seek to block government takeover of airwaves

Hello everyone – thought you would be interested in this alert from Greg regarding his and Mike Pence (R-Ind.) efforts this week to block regulations that would result in government censorship of political and religious talk radio.

Walden, Pence seek to block government takeover of airwaves

So-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ or government censorship of political and religious talk radio, is target of effort

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.) introduced today the Broadcaster Freedom Amendment to block regulations that would result in government censorship of political and religious talk radio.

“Congressman Pence and I are continuing our longstanding fight against the government takeover of free speech on the airwaves,” Walden said. “The Walden-Pence Broadcaster Freedom Amendment would defend both the front and back door assaults on the First Amendment rights of broadcasters. Two years ago, Congress voted in overwhelming bipartisan fashion in favor of the First Amendment on the airwaves. It’s time that Speaker Pelosi gives broadcaster freedom another up-or-down vote this week.”

“The federal government is intruding on various sectors of American life. The last thing we want is a government takeover of the airwaves,” Walden said.

The front door assault

The Walden-Pence Broadcaster Freedom Amendment would bar the re-implementation of the so-called Fairness Doctrine, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation scrapped in the 1980s that would eliminate most political and religious oriented talk on the radio today.

Prominent congressional Democrats—including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), Majority Senate Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)—have indicated their desire to see the FCC once again enforce the Fairness Doctrine to silence conservative talk radio.

The “stealth censorship” of the back door approach

Walden and Pence also plan to guard against a back door attempt to regulate free speech through new “localism” broadcast standards. Last year, the FCC floated new rules that would add layers of redundant and restrictive oversight to radio programming, likely resulting in the decline of radio formats that have flourished since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in the 1980s—political and religious talk.

“As a radio station operator of over 21 years, I can say from experience that there’s only one group qualified to judge a station’s performance: the listeners,” Walden said. “If they’re tuning in, you’re doing something right. If they’re not, it’s time to reconsider. Sounds simple enough, but some here in the nation’s capital want the government to intrude on that basic principle.”

A committee stacked heavily with members of the majority party will meet this afternoon to consider whether the Walden-Pence Broadcaster Freedom Amendment will receive an up-or-down vote on the floor of the House on Friday.

Representative Greg Walden represents Oregon’s Second Congressional District, which is comprised of 20 counties in eastern, southern, and central Oregon. He is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.


Colby Marshall

Central – Eastern Oregon Office Director
Representative Greg Walden (OR-02)
541-389-4408 (Central Oregon)
541-624-2400 (Eastern Oregon)
[email protected]

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