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Friday, November 13, 2009

Art Brodsky: net neutrality 'opposite' to Fairness Doctrine

Interesting Huffington Post about the old fairness doctrine (RIP 1949-87), and its similarities - or otherwise - to net neutrality. In truth, one is about internal pluralism in a world of limited channels, the other about external pluralism in a world of only one channel - the Internet - but with billions of routes to the citizen's eyeballs. I wrote about it in a report for the Council of Europe a decade ago, but they didn't notice much!
Call it what you like, it is regulation - which is why free market Taleban-style fundamentalists hate it:
'what both ideas have in common is the notion, which goes back to the beginnings of our telecommunications law, that the interests of the public trump those of businesses or government. The idea that clear in the earliest days of broadcasting, just as it should be clear today. Herbert Hoover said in 1925 that there has to be a "public benefit" to broadcasting. U.S. Supreme Court Justice White in the Red Lion opinion also, said: "It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount."

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