It was an important and impressive vote in the Senate. By a vote of 87-11, the Senate approved an amendment by Senator Jim DeMint which prohibits the FCC from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine and requiring broadcasters - including Christian broadcasters - always air both sides of a controversial issue.
While this is an important victory, it is Round One. Also in the Senate yesterday, an amendment by Senator Dick Durbin was approved by a much closer vote, 57-41 - an amendment that attempts to promote 'diversity' in media ownership.
That amendment is still of concern to those who support broadcast freedom - including Sen. DeMint. Here's what he told reporters about the Durbin amendment.
"Senator Durbins amendment exposed Democrat intentions to impose radio censorship through the back door, using vague regulations dealing with media ownership. Senator Durbins language was so broad, it could apply beyond radio to television, newspapers and the Internet. All eyes are now on the FCC. If they attempt to shut down free speech indirectly, we will fight to stop them."
He is absolutely correct. The focus must remain on the FCC and while we're very pleased with this tremendous victory in the Senate prohibiting the return of the Fairness Doctrine, we are still monitoring the situation very closely.
Now, the legislative process moves forward. The House of Representatives will get its turn at the bill, after which a House/Senate conference committee will be responsible for ironing out the differences in the two bills. After this is complete, President Obama will sign it into law.
I have instructed our legislative and legal teams to continue to engage this issue - to ensure that the victory we have realized in the Senate with the approval of the DeMint amendment is carried forward. And I want to thank you for standing with us and signing on to our petition urging the protection of broadcaster freedom. Yes, there are likely more battles ahead, but this is an important win in Round One.
We will keep you posted as developments unfold. We'll post updated information here and of course you can always get the latest on our daily radio broadcast, Jay Sekulow Live!