Date: 12th October 2000

Court Over-Turns FCC Rule

A federal appeals court on Wednesday put an end to the FCC's foot dragging on ending its personal-attack and political-editorial rules by ordering the commission to repeal the rules immediately.

The court acted less than a week after the FCC suspended the rules for 60 days. Of that action, the appeals court held: "It is folly to suppose that the 60-day suspension ... cures anything." The suspension, it said, merely amounts to "an order that further postpones a final decision without any assurance of a final decision."

The court also hit out at the commission for ignoring an earlier order to justify continuation of the rules, which, it said -- repeating a previous decree -- "interfere with editorial judgment of professional journalists and entangle the government in day-to-day operations of the media."

Barbara Cochran, president of the Radio-Television News Directors Assn., (RTNDA) called the ruling "a tremendous and historic victory" for broadcast journalists.

Source: Studio Briefing