The Federal Communications Commission has halted a controversial study of American newsrooms after an outraged public called it a violation of the First Amendment.
FCC spokeswoman Shannon Gilson said Chairman Tom Wheeler agreed that some of the questions directed at reporters and news directors “overstepped the bounds of what is required,” according to Fox News.
Commissioner Ajit Pai, a critic of the proposal, applauded the decision Friday in a statement to Fox News, which said:
“This study would have thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country, somewhere it just doesn’t belong. The Commission has now recognized that no study by the federal government, now or in the future, should involve asking questions to media owners, news directors, or reporters about their practices. This is an important victory for the First Amendment.” “And it would not have been possible without the American people making their voices heard. I will remain vigilant that any future initiatives not infringe on our constitutional freedoms.”The Radio and Television News Directors Association took a wait-and-see approach to the announcement.
“[The association] views this as an important admission by the FCC that questions regarding editorial policies and practices are off-limits to the government,” association Director Mike Cavender said in a statement, according to Fox News. “We are eager to see the revised study to insure there aren’t topics or questions that could be construed as a ‘back door’ attempt to gather the same type of information.”