A suggestion by President Donald Trump that a US regulator pull broadcast licenses from TV networks over what Trump calls “fake news” has been met by silence from the watchdog’s head Ajit Pai, who has a history of defending free speech rights.
Pai, who was reconfirmed last week for a new five-year term at the Federal Communications Commission and named chairman by Trump in January, has been urged by members of Congress to denounce Trump for a proposal that has little, if any, chance of success.
That is because the commission does not actually license broadcast networks or cable stations and the hurdles to denying licenses to individual stations are extremely high.
Trump’s remarks on Wednesday that threatened to muzzle the media and fellow-Republican Pai’s strong support for press freedoms could conflict as Pai mounts ambitious plans to overhaul federal communications regulations.
Trump said in a Twitter post: “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!”
His ire was raised by an NBC News report that said he had called for a massive increase in the US nuclear arsenal, a report Trump denied. Trump and his supporters have repeatedly used the term “fake news” to cast doubt on media reports critical of his administration, often without providing any evidence to support their case that the reports were untrue.
While Pai’s office has stayed silent on the issue, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel replied to Trump’s call to “challenge” NBC News’ license on Wednesday.
“Not how it works,” Rosenworcel tweeted, as she included a link to the FCC’s regulations on local stations.
“Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy,” Rosenworcel continued. “Hope my @FCC colleagues can all be on the same …read more
Source:: Business Insider