Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Who Controls the Media? The FCC by Samantha Nobles

The Federal Communications Commission is one of the many government agencies that controls and monitors certain areas of the media. In 1934, the Communications Act was passed, which established the FCC. To this day, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 remains the primary law governing the media, in which the Act shifted away from direct regulation of the telecommunications service rates and towards oversight of competition in the industry (Straubhaar, 2014). The FCC regulates broadcasting, satellite/cable TV, and telecommunications. The government agency is overseen by Congress and its primary authority is for communication laws, regulation, and technological innovation (FCC, n.d.). In recent legislation, the Open Internet Order of 2015 protects free expression and innovation and promotes investment in the nation’s broadband networks, in other words, net neutrality is available to everyone. However, contingencies have arisen since the implementation of the legislation. The Open Internet Order concluded that the Internet is a functional equivalent to the printing press, telephone, and others because it has evolved into a popular communication tool, and is now subject to common carrier regulations under the Communications Act of 1934. Such classification is considered by many to be unconstitutional because broadband Internet is a part of the press, in which the First Amendment protects from common carrier regulations (Campbell, 2015). In addition, the net neutrality that the Order promotes, is considered to violate the Fifth Amendment, which states “Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Since it has been two years since the Open Internet Order has been implemented, I believe that possible lawsuits may arise in the near future.



Campbell, F. (2015, May 21). FCC's Open Internet Order Won't Stand Up To The First Amendment. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2015/05/21/fccs-open-internet-order-wont-stand-up -to-the-first-amendment/#5ffe2e042ad5

Straubhaar, J., Larose, R., and Davenport, L. (2014). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology. Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Company.

What We Do . (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2017, from https://www.fcc.gov/about-fcc/what-we-do

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