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April 15, 2002
CONTACT: David Fish
(202) 289-8928

Is FCC Public Interest Mandate in the Public Interest?
May-Schwartzman Carnegie Mellon Debate Will Decide

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Is the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Interest mandate really in the public interest? When it comes to creating opportunities for consumers in the new, dynamic telecommunications marketplace, Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow and Director of Communications Policy Studies Randolph J. May believes it is not. Andrew Jay Schwartzman, President and CEO of the Media Access Project, disagrees. The two men face each other in a debate hosted by Carnegie Mellon University on Wednesday.

“What I will be trying to show is that, in an era of increasing competition in the communications marketplace made possible by the digital revolution, there is less and less justification for the FCC to continue regulations developed for a more monopolistic environment,” May said. “Unfortunately, the vague and boundless ‘public interest standard’ gives the FCC a basis to continue such outdated regulations unless it cabins its own discretion.”

The Carnegie Mellon debate, which will be held on campus at the McConomy Auditorium in Pittsburgh, will not be the first time May and Schwartzman have squared-off on issues central to telecommunications policy. They were on opposing sides of another debate, “The FCC Versus the Constitution,” at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention in November 2001.

May has published numerous articles and essays on telecom issues, and has been cited by numerous national media outlets, including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and InteractiveWeek. May also writes for leading national publications and law reviews on a wide variety of topics ranging from communications and administrative law to constitutional theory. His column on regulatory issues appears regularly in Legal Times.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation