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FCC Cancels Newsroom Study

Some commissioners, lawmakers had criticized the effort

The FCC has cancelled its so-called newsroom study.

Late Friday an agency spokesperson said the commission would “not move forward” with the Critical Information Needs study, which originally was to involve asking journalists and newsroom managers about decision-making procedures.

“The commission will reassess the best way to fulfill its obligation to Congress to identify barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses,” according to the spokesperson.

After criticism from media groups and some lawmakers, new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had said the study would be changed, but without questioning media owners and journalists.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn defended the effort, saying the study was meant to help the commission make a “sound regulatory decision” and added that she would “never, ever, ever be a part of any effort to chill speech.”

However fellow Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly said changing the study was not enough. O’Rielly said, “If any value was ever to come from this particular exercise, that ship has sailed. It is probably time to cancel the CIN study for good.”

House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., was prepared to hold a hearing and introduce legislation to end the study, which he called “chilling.”