Irvine, CA–At the National Conference for Media Reform last weekend, several lawmakers called for the return of the “Fairness Doctrine,” which demands that television and radio broadcasters give a balanced presentation of all sides of controversial issues.

“The Fairness Doctrine is a violation of broadcasters’ right to free speech,” said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. “Broadcasters should not be forced to promote ideas they may disagree with.

“Defenders of the Fairness Doctrine claim that, left unrestrained, broadcast corporations will stop some views from being heard. But no private individual or organization can keep people from voicing dissenting views–it is only the government that has the power to suppress speech. By granting a cabal of government bureaucrats the power to arbitrarily dictate what ideas should and should not be heard on the air, the Fairness Doctrine is the real threat to free speech.

“Those who think their views are not being heard have every opportunity to promote them–on television, on radio, in print, online–but they must earn their audience, not demand that it be provided to them ready-made. As Ayn Rand put it, ‘The right of free speech means that a man has the right to express his ideas without danger of suppression, interference or punitive action by the government. It does not mean that others must provide him with a lecture hall, a radio station or a printing press through which to express his ideas.’

“Those who value the First Amendment must oppose the Fairness Doctrine as a grave threat to freedom of speech.”

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