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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 1 New Delhi December 21, 2019 | ANNUAL NUMBER

Identifying the Role of Fairness Doctrine in promoting Local Accountability over Licensing: A study on its implications in past and future

Saturday 21 December 2019

by Sonia Malik


The Fairness Doctrine is a mechanism that imposes affirmative responsibilities on a broadcaster to issue airspace to discuss the problems of public importance that is important and reflects differing viewpoints. This review paper discusses exactly the role of Fairness Doctrine in promoting local accountability, its historical background, the role of social media and electronic media, challenges faced by broadcasters, and finally the advantages of the fairness doctrine. The author identifies the role of the fairness doctrine and how it influences the general public to participate in social issues. Some of the highlights of this review paper are the case studies, where tweets were active and the media sources, followed by the liberty to the broadcasters to air politically charged view-points, and so on. This review will ensure adequate insight into the Fairness Doctrine and its past and future implications.

1. Introduction

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission), and that is necessary to broadcast licenses to encompass issues of public importance and to do so in complete fairness. Issues of public concern were not limited to political campaigns. Historically, in 1987, after a period of study, the FCC removed the Fairness Doctrine because the Fairness Doctrine is found to violate the free speech rights of broadcasters, resulting in less speech about issues of public importance through broadcast airwaves, followed by no longer wanted to increase in competition among mass media (Arbuckle, 2016).

The Fairness Doctrine advocated a media environment in which different ideas and thoughts remained distinctive but balanced. The NRB leaders’ resistance to net neutrality has been seemingly non-rational but consistent with an environment of religious media conglome-ration. Apart from that, the NRB discourse linked domestic concern for freedom of expression from foreign invaders, a tactic frequently employed by Republican politicians in discussion with conservative religious figures. (Montalbano, 2018)

After the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, political talk radio has flourished and earned more significance for its effect on elections and society. Further, political talk radio audiences tend to be better educated, have higher incomes, and have more political efficacy. In addition, radio advertisements continue to affect more campaigns than television because of their capacity to reach niche audiences of particular use to political candidates. When it comes to functionality, radio advertisements reveal the contents of other types of political speech. (Blaney, 2016)

The fundamental goal of federal regulation of broadcasting, embodied in the Communications Act of 1934 (the Communications Act), is to make sure that the licensees of broadcast outlets serve the public interest. “In return for ‘the free and exclusive use of a limited and valuable part of the public domain,’ broadcasters are to be ‘burdened by enforceable public obligations.’” This fundamental underpinning of broadcasting that licensees are public trustees is woven throughout the Communication Act and has been endorsed by the Supreme Court: “The Commission is specifically directed to consider the demands of the public interest in the course of granting licenses, renewing them, and modifying them.”

Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory emphasis both the power and failures of mass media in the context of American politics. It is evident that Trump took advantage and dominated coverage from the earliest days of the primary season through Election Day, gaining more airtime than all other Republican contenders—time worth millions in paid in dollars. According to Thomas E. Patterson, “Trump is arguably the first bona fide media-created presidential nominee. Although
he subsequently tapped a political-nerve, journalists fuelled his launch.” (Graber, & Dunaway, 2017)

Dunwoody and Peters (2016) have studied mass media coverage of technological and environmental risks in the United States and Germany. They found: 1) the general social and technological cultures of these two developed countries, 2) the ways in which their scientific and journalistic cultures deal with the concept of risk, and 3) how risk communication researchers in these countries conceptualise and operationalise this domain of inquiry. Thus, this study examines the construction of risk stories by journalists but also offers a framework within which to examine story effects as well. Social media is a place where people come forward to share their issues and opinions. In other words, social media is a computer tool that allows people to exchange information ideas, images, videos and much more with each other with the help of a certain network. (Siddiqui, & Singh, 2016)

Social media is a place where people come forward to share their issues and opinions. In other words, social media is a computer tool that allows people to exchange information ideas, images, videos and much more with each other with the help of a certain network. (Siddiqui, & Singh, 2016)

Social media make the users to connect with like-minded people or to connect with people providing information and opinions of interest to the user or facilitate the users for the same. For instance, Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to send short messages, known as ‘tweets’ to other users. At times, followers of a user spread the information shared by that user to other users. The information may be transferred as a retransmission of a message from that user. However, that retransmission is also said to be a ‘retweet’, even though the information may be passed on in a new message, which may be correlated with the original message because it may give the user who initially started the message. (Lange et al., 2016)

The personal media broadcasting system enables video distribution over a computer network and gives ease to a user to see and control media sources through a computer network from any remote location. A personal broadcaster gets an input from one or multiple media sources, digitises and compresses the content, and streams the compressed media with the aid of a computer network to a media player running on any of a wide range of client devices for viewing the media. In this system, the broadcaster and the media player can deploy several techniques for buffering, trans-mitting, and viewing the content to improve the user’s experience. (Krikorian et al., 2016)

Xiao, Tang, and Wu (2015) studied the media impact switching surface during an infectious disease outbreak. Here, the authors observed that media impacts lead to the development of public awareness and promoting disease mitigation process. It is noted that the media impact does not always remain effective for reducing transmission when there is an entire outbreak, but it does switch on or off during the outbreak. This switch is successful unless it is guided by the rate of change of the disease cases.

At present, media and media logic have become essential and inherent elements in everyday practices of public administration and policy making. But the logic behind media is almost different from and confronting with, the logic of political and administrative life. (Klijn, Twist, Steen, & Jeffares, 2016) The recent communication policy issues like net neutrality and broadcast ownership limits have created more public attention than anything have seen since debates about monopoly AT&T’s divestiture back in the early 1980s. There exist a public panic and uncertainty at that time sought language and justifications for maintaining government scrutiny over the somewhat disliked but still reliable. (Strover, 2016)

Thus, this review paper will discuss elaborately on identifying the role of Fairness Doctrine to promote local’s participation and accountability over licensing. And it deeply talks about broadcasters awareness, social media, followed by an overview of the fairness doctrine in the past and future.

2. Broadcasters’ Awareness of their Accountability

Foust (2016) reviewed a book named America’s Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform, written by Victor Pickard. In the paper, he stated Victor Pickard’s point of view towards America’s Media Democracy. According to Pickard, the decline of New Deal liberalism and other economic and societal changes presented a ‘window of opportunity’ to reform the American Media system. In his mentioned case studies follows a trajectory. First, media reformers propose structural changes to emphasise the public service responsibilities of media. Second, the proposals get watered down to the point of being at best modest tweaks to the commercial system. Third, the industry howls in protest and eventually discredits even the watered-down proposals. Finally, the ‘corporate libertarianism’ in which the corporations are given liberty to individual freedom, followed by the unregulated marketplace is alleged as the best way for the media to meet the democratic needs of society.

Pickard (2015) examined the tensions arose during the American Media Reform Movement, in which many are still negotiated among media activists today. It highlighted that despite significant reform activism in the 1940s, a commercial, self-regulated media system emerged largely inoculated against further structural challenges. Since the FCC and other regulatory agencies ask questions regarding the future of journalism and broadband provision, they would do well to remember that the lack of clear public interest standards can be traced back to the initial policy battles. Here, the researcher revealed three important lessons for today’s media reformers. 1) Media reformers must continuously cultivate a strong inside/outside coordination between progressive policymakers and grassroots social movements. 2) Media reformers must maintain a strong structural critique and a “big picture” long-term vision. 3) Media reformers must inter-connect with other social movement struggles and political issue networks.

Freedman (2015) studied the resilience of TV and its implications for media policy. The policy initiatives have often been at the heart of the media systems from an institution like the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which itself is nothing more than a creature of public policy, to the tools like the Fairness Doctrine and the “Fin-Syn” rules in the United States which promote more marginal voices and to prevent the monopolisation of the airwaves by only a handful of companies. In this paper, the researcher stated that in neoliberal times, it is market logic rather than the public interest that is deemed to drive innovation and to satisfy consumers and hence it leads to significant pressure on all parts of the media to deliver economic efficiency, brand value and export potential which are the most desirable public policy objectives. In this regard, markets have made liberalised, public service broadcasters disciplined and technology fetishised.

2.1 Historical Background of Fairness Doctrine

Hayden (2018) studied the media advocacy and struggles over US Television. According to the author, histories of American broadcasting can sometimes sound like the historian Edward Gibbon outlining the fall of the Roman Empire —a remarkable creation populated by fascinating personalities but destined for corruption and demise. However, with the aid of corporate consolidation, followed by decimation of Federal Communications Commission regulation and oversight, the U.S. radio and TV stations had become ever more separated from their audiences, and citizens’ mindset to put pressure and elicit change seemed weakened.

In 1949 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was established due to a mandate from Congress to provide a “public interest” standard in broadcast communications, formalised what became known as the “fairness doctrine”. In 1987 the FCC, then dominated by Reagan appointees who shared his deregulatory tendencies, observed the fairness doctrine unconstitutional and ceased enforcing it. Congress passed legislation codifying the doctrine through statute but was unable to override President Reagan’s veto, and thus the fairness doctrine ended. Thus, the rise and fall of the fairness doctrine illustrate important issues that concern First Amendment liberties in the age of broadcast communications. In practice, however, the FCC is a highly political institution whose members are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate and finally their budget is approved by Congress. Additionally, its practices are under constant public scrutiny and industry pressure (Bigelow, 2015).

Vos and Ashley (2014) have explained the history of a 1959 amendment to the 1934 Communications Act through the lens of historical institutionalism. In this study, the researchers’ main goal is an explanation based on an examination of historical mechanisms, and they are path dependence, critical junctures, agglomeration, asymmetries of power, reinforcement of expectations, and temporal sequencing which led to the shaping of policy options resulting to the amendment.

Thus, the researchers concluded that there was a variety of historical mechanisms which helped in understanding and explaining the 1959 amendment to the Communication Act of 1934. The occurrence of the 1959 amendment reveals a moment of contingency, relatively unoften in the history of broadcasting policy. Further, the 1959 question of how to deal with Section 315 gives a moment of contingency, supplemented by the FCC’s rulings and Congressional pushback against broadcasters, not to mention the concerns expressed by minority communities.

The Fairness Doctrine was awarded legal credence during the 1969 Red Lion case. The concept of scarcity was more invoked and got significance to the mandate of diversity in the Supreme Court decision that was having “the speech rights of listeners, rather than broad-casters were highly imperative in a media sector utilising a scarce resource—the airwaves— where as a condition of receiving a license, broadcasters were justifiably subject to public interest requirements.” The Fairness Doctrine is the most important regulatory statute which is pertaining to the diversity of content. The doctrine had two basic elements: it necessitated broadcasters to provide some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, as well as to air contrasting views regarding those matters. (Russo, 2018)

2.2 Role of Social Media and Electronic Media

Boulianne (2015) studied the use of social media and participation by users. In this paper, the researcher produced 36 studies assessing the relationship between social media use and participation in both civic and political life. The results obtained through a meta-analysis of research and there exists a positive relationship between social media use and participation. Moreover, 80 per cent of coefficients are positive. The study used panel data that are less likely to report positive and statistically significant coefficients within social media use and participation, comparatively to cross-sectional surveys. Additionally, the metadata also revealed that social media use contains minimal impact on participation in election campaigns.

Munar and Jacobsen (2014) studied and examined the motivation for sharing tourism experiences through social media, where the researchers have found that visual content is dominant, apart from the relevance of altruistic and community-related motivations, followed by motivational differences between types of content creators. The sharing practices via social media appear as valuable articulations of sociability and emotional support, meanwhile having lesser relevance as information sources for holiday decision-making. Ultimately, the paper shows the extent to which how old and new technologies overlap and complement each other.

Apart from the above, the researchers also found that the popularity and high usage of social networks such as Facebook among Scandinavians can result in using the most utilised social media channels for sharing online content. But on the other side, since there is a low level of social cues, review sites may be perceived as highly useful due to the huge number of available content, mainly global reach, and many contributions based on non-commercial motivations.

Newman (2017) conducted a case study on the release of the Working Group for Policy-makers of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, in which the researcher explained what type of actors were active at the time of summary release, the substance of the most propagated tweets during the summary release, and finally the media sources that attracted the most attention during the same time. It is found that non-elite actors, like bloggers and concerned citizens, contributed most of the tweets. Along with that, the majority of the most propagated tweets focused on the public understanding of the report. Finally, there was a number of new media and science news and information sources spread among the audience to grab their attention and compete with the mainstream media sources.

According to Trottier and Fuchs (2014), the study of social media activity is due to the novelty of blogs and social networks like Facebook and Twitter, a relatively young endeavour. The researchers proposed some constitutive features of social media like Facebook are the following: Integrated sociality, integrated roles, and integrated and converging communi-cation on social media. The social media enables the combination of the three modes of sociality (cognition, communication, and cooperation) in an integrated sociality. The scope of public life and private life, as well as the workplace and the home, have become inevitable.

The researchers highlighted some live examples of Facebook, where a user creates multimedia content such as a video (cognitive level), publishing it in his/her account so that others can view and comment (communicative level) and allow others to manipulate and remix the content, which will create new contents with multiple authorship. Thus, technology has the potential to bring the combination of all three activities in one platform.

Bhatti, Ali, and Hassan (2016) have studied the role of electronic media in political awareness among youth in Pakistan’s Okara district. The study found that the respondents used electronic media for information (90.8 per cent) and education purpose (28.3 per cent). Similarly, 60.8 per cent of them used “to a great extent” for entertainment purpose. Additionally, there seems to be a huge majority (92.5 per cent) of the respondents informed that the electronic media portrays political awareness. On the other hand, 61.7 per cent of the sample is watching/listening political talk show, and the majority of them agreed that political talk shows provide political knowledge to them. The researchers also found that the PTV is a main TV channel to the rural community. Hence, the government should broadcast political aware-ness programs in this channel.

2.3 How broadcasters influence in Public Participation

Morss, Demuth, Bostrom, Lazo, and Lazrus (2015) studied about the flash flood risks and warning decisions by using mental models study of forecasters, public officials, and media broad-casters. The study was conducted in Boulder, Colorado. The research analysis revealed that warning system functioning might be beneficial from professionals to develop a clearer, shared understanding of the flash flood risks, followed by the warning system, around their areas of expertise and job roles. It is found that challenges in risk communication and decision making for a complex, instantly evolving hazards like flash floods, another priority is development of advanced warning system in order to assist members of the public to protect themselves whenever necessary.

Additionally, the researchers also highlighted that professional communication among members of the public regarding the allocation of responsibilities to manage the flash flood risks, along with improved system-wide management of uncertainty in decisions.

Starbird et al., (2015) have examined how information about an oil spill, its impacts, as well as the utilisation of dispersants to treat the oil, moved through social media and the surrounding Internet at the time of 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This research helped the readers to understand how people from different background use social media during a slow process of environmental disaster. The researchers have focused on the accounts and behaviours of highly re-tweeted Twitter users, noting how locals helped to shape the network and the conversation.

The researchers have found that there exists a broad interest in response efforts and the strategies that responders were employed, including the use of dispersants. Plus, network analysis showed that the Twitter conversation surrounding this event was altered by a diverse group of influencers, including NGOs, locals, media, and event-specific accounts. Based on the findings, it is evident that how people including both local and remote actors-wanted to contribute to response efforts, and that they used these techniques to report first-hand observations from the affected areas.

Kim, Atkin, and Lin (2016) aimed to explore how one’s online use of SNSs for the purpose of political goals transform their political involvement, through a nationally represen-tative sample. The study highlighted that online social network uses to achieve political goals and predict political orientation level and ultimately political involvement. Here, the campaigners hope to harness the power of social media to re-imagine tasks for their supporters, perhaps channelling political, social network use into interpersonal communication on political issues. The research has faced certain limitations like the reliability of the study due to reliance on several single item measures. Similarly, the number and scope were limited even though the social networking site was evaluated in multiple terms.

Philo (2014) has studied broadly about the influence of television. He stated that “Television is the main source of information on national and world events for most of us. But do we believe what we see and what we are told? It has always been difficult to show how media content relates to public belief.” He also discovered some new approaches such as the use and gratification perspective delivered a static model, where the individuals use specific messages according to their interests and purposes. If there is some effect found on the belief, it ought to be largely constructed as being one of reinforcement. However, this static model does not comply with the complexity either of what is being transmitted by the media or of the cultures by which the users are receiving the messages.

Apart from that, the researcher has also discussed about the major problems in studying communications and audiences as that was understood until the 1970s period. During the time, there were major new developments in critical theory and specifically in the analysis of media content and the reception. In the USA and Europe, there seems to be an intensification of interest in the ability of the media to influence public consciousness.

3. An Overview of Fairness Doctrine 

in the Past and Future

Obar and Wildman (2015) have described the challenges involved in the governance of social media, followed by an overview of the different articles included in the special issue of “Telecommunications Policy” entitled “The Governance of Social Media”. He stated that transformative communication technologies have often called for regulatory innovation. According to Theodor Vail’s, his vision is of “one policy, one system, universal service” which was preceded one-hundred years of innovative regulations aimed at connecting all American citizens to a single telephone network. However, the fairness doctrine and the minority tax certificate program were designed to cater the inequalities in the broadcast television industry.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has responded to the intellectual property concerned by the Global Internet and FCC’s 700 mhz auction which resulted in the rise in demand for smart mobile phones. And finally, the researchers emphasised considering the role of regulatory innovation to address the emergence of social media.

Pickard (2015) has discussed the rise and fall of the postwar media reform movement in his study. The 1940s period experienced a widespread public discontent with commercial media institutions, stemming from a perceived lack of accountability from the locals, the increase in media monopolies, and rising disturbing advertising. He also highlighted the disintegration of the liberal New Deal consensus, reactions from threatened business elites, and a progressive shift in the political landscape which resulted in socio-political disturbance and chaos. The factors influenced are techno-logical changes, broadcasting was slowly evolving, especially with the FM radio, and television lay just over the horizon. These factors contributed to a fairly radical overhaul of an entrenched media system reforms that would be unthinkable during less contentious times.

Blaney (2016) talked about Radio, Politics, and Elections. He observed that political talk radio was a rare method of programming on the airwaves until the late 1980s. During the period 1949 to 1987, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulated broadcast outlets along with the Fairness Doctrine, which wanted broadcasters to air contradicting points while discussing contested or controversial issues. This eventually gave liberty to the broadcasters to air politically charged points of view without calculating the balance and assuring allotment of equal time to different perspectives. Similarly, there was much talk on the radio focused on topics related to relationship advice, finances, and friendly neighbour talk, from 1987 to 1994. Meanwhile, political talk radio got modernised as an influential player in American political discourse.

Bigelow (2015) has talked about the Encyclopedia of Civil Liberties in America, where he elaborated on the Fairness Doctrine. The term “fair use” indicates an important limitation on the executive legal rights that copyright law grants to protect owners of creative works as well as other forms of intellectual property. The concept of fair use was developed over time in judicial doctrine to get a balance between the rights of copyright owners to take possession and control of their property and also the greater benefit to the society that these works may provide. In the United States, the fair use of doctrine was used in statutory language when Congress made changes in the Copyright Act in 1976.

Holt (2018) discussed the Fairness Doctrine in his study. He observed that “the fairness doctrine contained two essential elements: it required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to conduct a discussion on controversial matters of public interest, followed by air contrasting views regarding those matters.” However, he highlighted that the doctrine did not require that each program be internally balanced, nor did it mandate equal time for contradicting viewpoints. Thus, it stopped stations from broadcasting from a single perspective, day after day, without expressing opposing views. When it comes to the concept of scarcity, it was more invoked and linked to the mandate of diversity in the Supreme Court decision which held “the speech rights of listeners, rather than broadcasters, were paramount in a media sector utilising a scarce resource—the airwaves— where as a condition of receiving a license, broadcasters were justifiably subject to public interest requirements”. (Perlman, 2012)

3.1 Challenges faced by Broadcasters

Dijck and Poell (2015) studied how the rise of social media creates an impact on European public service broadcasting (PSB), especially in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands. They explored the encounter of “social” and “public” on three levels: the level of institution, professional practice, and lastly the content. The authors quoted one line of argument which proposes to change “public service broad-casting” (PSB) into “public service media” (PSM), highlighting the significance of extending public services beyond radio and television to include the full specter of the Internet, while there are other scholars, who have been sceptical of the possibility to reform the public service system as a safeguard institution.

Additionally, the shift from PSB to PSM, from public space to private value, and from content production to content selection and distribution needs an international understanding between creative producers, policy-makers, and academics to develop new perspectives on public value along with the technologies and practices through which those values can be created and facilitated. The researchers concluded that even though the national PSBs supported by the EBU, they have to face the profound challenges, at the cost of their current institutional status, but still they may develop a process more robust and more public-centric than the past.

Schlesinger and Benchimol (2015) discussed the challenges faced by the Scottish Press in concern with the referendum on independence. Here, the researchers focused on a gradual transition to a new business model that is linking both print and digital content. They have also given a brief overview of comparable nation-states (Denmark, Norway) and stateless nations (Catalonia, Quebec). It is found that after the Treaties of Union of 1706 - 1707, Scottish editors and publishers framed their ambitions in terms that continue to resonate with the double challenge experiencing Scotland’s national press today. Interestingly, both Denmark and Norway raises the issue of whether statehood plays an important role in communications unavailable in a sub-state polity.

Likewise, in Catalonia and Quebec, language politics has been linked to independence, although specifically not invariably. Other than that, the new balance between print and digital contains enormous implications for the way that newsrooms are organised and how newspapers produce a daily print. And there is a new hurdle to how news judgements are being pronounced which is increasingly posed by the editorial use of live web analytics - information about the present use of content (Schlesinger and Doyle, 2014).

Zhang, Wu, Hur, Ikeda, and Xia (2014) have discussed the challenges facing by the terrestrial broadcast industry and determining how to use efficiently and effectively the scarce spectrum to deliver the large media content to the general public. Since the advent of Future of Broadcast Television Initiative (FOBTV) established
by the broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, standardisation organisations, research institutions, and universities across the world, its objective is to solve problems through global collaboration. The researchers focused on the work done by the organisation, including use case collection and technology analysis, general framework design and key technology evaluation. They also stated that the next generation broadcasting system would be a harmonisation of broadcasting followed by the Internet technologies.

3.2 Advantages of Fairness Doctrine in the Future

Pickard (2015) has analysed the return of the nervous liberals: Market Fundamentalism, Policy Failure, and Recurring Journalism Crises. Here, the researchers examined the policy discourse that continues the US journalism crisis and the government’s lack of ability to challenge it. Based on the study, it is revealed that there is an urging need for addressing the recurring weaknesses in liberal reform efforts. The recurring patterns of policy failure bring into attention the problems of liberalism, the preponderance of market fundamentalism, and finally the consequences of evading a structural critique of commercial journalism’s systemic flaws.

The researcher also talked rather reaching broader constituencies by writing op-eds, blog posts, and other forms of popular writing, they should create a network that includes policymakers, think tanks, grassroots activists, and other spheres of discursive influence that will shape the U.S. policy agenda.

Levy, Meza, Zhang, and Holford (2016) have estimated the effect of tobacco control policies in the U.S. after the 1964 Report. The model handled during the study projects smoking prevalence and smoking-attributable deaths (SADs) from 1965 through 2065. It is found that the Fairness Doctrine has reduced adult smoking prevalence by about 24% by 2014 and averted 7.3 million SADs by 2065. Smoke-free air laws, cessation treatment, and tobacco control spending individually reduced smoking rates by 3% - 5.5% in the year 2014. The authors have further stated that SimSmoke estimates a 53% reduction in smoking rates and nearly 2 million SADs averted because of the policy implementation since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report, with most of the health benefit that still to occur in future years.

4. Conclusion

In this paper, the researcher studied the role of the Fairness Doctrine in promoting local accountability over licensing, followed by its implications in the past and future. The researcher mainly focused on broadcasters’ awareness and their accountability, their influence on public participation, challenges faced by broadcasters, and finally the advantages of the fairness doctrine in the future. Some of the notable references are Newman’s (2017) case study on the release of Working Group for policymakers of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, where tweets were active and the media sources that attracted the most. The majority of the most propagated tweets focused on the public understanding of the report. And Blaney (2016) talked about Radio, Politics, and Elections. In this study, the researcher talked about liberty to the broadcasters to air politically charged points of view without calculating the balance and assuring allotment of equal time to different perspectives, and so on.

Thus, this research paper would benefit both the scholars and practitioners including all the stakeholders of the Media industry. It highlights the key insights on Fairness Doctrine since its inception. And it also paves the way to further research on the same.


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Sonia Malik is a Research Scholar of Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is presently doing her Ph.D from JNU’s Centre of Canadian, United States and Latin American Studies, School of International Studies. Her area of interest being American Media, she is currently doing her Ph.D on “Role of Media in Electoral Politics: A Study of American Presidential Elections: 2004 and 2008” under Prof. K.P. Vijaylakshmi

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