Pai: FCC Not Generally in Business of Censorship

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has told a member of the House that the agency is generally not in the business of dictating what viewers can and can’t see.

Pai was responding to a letter from Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), who was concerned about a TV show, La Comey, airing on Mega TV in Puerto Rico and containing what she called “a pattern of xenophobic and racist remarks.”

Velázquez said the show was making direct attacks on the immigrant community and racist remarks and asked the FCC to “review the practices employed by this television show,” adding: “I believe the FCC must ensure that any programs requiring FCC licenses do not unfairly target minorities or any protected classes under the law.”

The show has drawn criticism before and there are renewed calls for its cancellation.

Related: FCC’s Pai Says Free Speech is Under Siege

Pai responded that, under the protections of the First Amendment and Section 326 of the Communications Act, and with the exception in limited circumstance related obscene, indecent, or profane programming, broadcasters have “discretion to determine what content to air on their stations, even if that programming could be objectionable to some viewers.”

He said that means that the FCC is “generally prohibited from censoring content or dictating to licensees what the stations can or cannot air.”

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