The Federal Communications Commission said on Friday that it was scrapping a controversial study derided by critics as a threat to the First Amendment right of press freedom.
The plan to look at how news organizations choose which stories to cover “overstepped the bounds of what is required,” admitted FCC spokeswoman Shannon Gilson.
“To be clear, media owners and journalists will no longer be asked to participate in the Columbia, S.C., pilot study,” Gilson said in a statement posted on the agency’s website.
“The pilot will not be undertaken until a new study design is final,” she said. “Any subsequent market studies conducted by the FCC, if determined necessary, will not seek participation from or include questions for media owners, news directors or reporters.”
The “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” was to be conducted in six media markets this spring. It sought to learn more about the inner workings of newsroom operations.
The study had drawn the ire of a wide range of critics, from journalists to political commentators to Republican legislators, for fear that it would impede press freedom.
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