A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) statement issued late today indicates the agency will not just modify its Critical Information Needs (CIN) study but, rather, will not proceed with the study at all. As explained in the statement:
“The FCC will not move forward with the Critical Information Needs study. The Commission will reassess the best way to fulfil its obligation to Congress to identify barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses.”
As we have written previously, the study drew criticism from many spheres, including from Capitol Hill and from Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly. This criticism first prompted FCC Chairman Wheeler to announce that the agency would modify the study to eliminate questions directed at media managers, news directors, and reporters. Now, the agency has said the study won’t go forward at all.
Commissioner Ajit Pai, who had been among the study’s most vocal critics, welcomed this news, characterizing the study as a “distraction” from the “important goal” of ” remov[ing] actual barriers to entry into the communications industry.” Broadcasters and others targeted by the study will also likely be pleased to learn that the FCC will not seek to delve so deeply into the inner workings of newsrooms in the name of studying market dynamics.