The FCC is moving to remove its long-abandoned political-speech rule the Fairness Doctrine as part of a purge of 83 outdated regulations, the agency said Monday. The doctrine, which was installed in 1949 and required broadcasters to give equal time to differing political views, was tossed by the FCC in 1987 during the Reagan administration as the growth of media outlets ensured that all sides of the political debate were represented — still, it remained on the books. The removal is part of a greater purge at the FCC under chairman Julius Genachowski that has seen more than 130 outdated rules removed from the Code of Federal Regulations, but the Fairness Doctrine has been a particular lightning rod, with Republicans wary that Democrats might revive the rule in an attempt to stem the rise of conservative talk radio. But in a letter announcing the removal of the rule, Genachowski said “striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead. The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago.”
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