Washington D.C.– House Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Communications and Technology Republican Subcommittee Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), and other Committee Republicans sent a letter today urging the Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel, to defend free speech and freedom of the press.
In the letter, they write:
“We write to urge you to defend free speech and freedom of the press and unequivocally denounce recent efforts by House Democrats to threaten fundamental American liberties protected under the First Amendment. A free and independent press is a foundational principle in the United States. As the Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), you play a critical role in advancing the public interest and are obligated to encourage national policies that “seek to promote the polices and purposes of [the Communications Act] favoring diversity of media, voices, vigorous economic competition, technological advancement, and promotion of the public interest, convenience, and necessity.”
“As Acting Chairwoman of the Commission, it is incumbent upon you to use your position to preserve and protect our fundamental freedoms that are protected by the First Amendment. You can, and must, denounce any attempts by government officials to use their power to threaten a free press at such an important time in our Nation’s history.
“House Democrats’ recent actions directly contradict their prior stance on the importance of protecting broadcasters and opposing government-sanctioned censorship. Just last year, Chairmen Pallone and Doyle sent a letter to the FCC stating that it “has a duty to provide clear guidance to broadcasters and the public that threats by politicians about protected speech will not influence the agency or broadcaster licenses.” Unfortunately, now that Democrats control Congress and the Executive, House Democrats apparently no longer agree. Recently, House Democrats sent a letter to 12 Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) disguised as “oversight” but clearly designed to pressure these companies to block certain conservative media outlets.
“We demand you stand on the side of free-speech and an independent press and publicly express your opposition to reinstating the Fairness Doctrine immediately. We also request that you denounce the recent attacks on the First Amendment by House Democrats and provide us a written response outlining in detail the steps you will take to uphold your prior commitments to free speech and a free press and how you intend to protect these principles. At one point, House Democrats used to care about upholding the First Amendment. As the Acting Chairwoman of the FCC, we expect you to lead and make clear to all Americans that you stand for a free press.”
Read the full letter HERE.