Monday, June 19, 2006

Constitutional Reprieve for Multicasting

According to an item in this morning's Washington Post, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has pulled from this Wedsnesday's FCC meeting agenda a proposal to impose a multicasting mandate on local broadcasters. This is good news, not least for the notion of creating a culture at the FCC that is mindful of constitutional rights.

As I explained last week in a post below entitled, "Taking the Constitutional Oath Seriously at the FCC," a government mandate requiring cable operators to carry multiple signals of local broadcasters likely would violate the First Amendment's free speech and the Fifth Amendment's property rights protections.

The Post speculates that the proposal may have been pulled from consideration, at least for now, because of concerns by new FCC commissioner Robert McDowell. I don't know whether that is true, but, if so, it would be a welcome sign that McDowell is taking seriously the constitutional oath he so recently swore.