Media Institute Statement on Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Complaint to FCC

Media Institute Statement on Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Complaint to FCC

FOR RELEASE: May 7, 2021

Contact: Richard T. Kaplar
The Media Institute
703-243-5700

Arlington, Va., May 7 – Media Institute President Richard T. Kaplar issued the following statement regarding a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission filed by the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office:

“The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office announced it has filed a complaint with the FCC against Baltimore TV station WBFF, alleging the station’s investigative reporting about the State’s Attorney’s Office has been ‘blatantly slanted, dishonest, misleading, racist, and extremely dangerous.’  The complaint also alleges the station appears to have engaged in an ‘intentional crusade’ against Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

“These government officials are asking the FCC to investigate, and presumably sanction, a local broadcast outlet because they did not like the news coverage they received.  This is a direct and unacceptable threat to the First Amendment rights of the journalists involved.

“This matter is especially egregious because the television station holds a broadcast license issued by the FCC.  It is obvious that freedom of the press would cease to be a reality for local broadcasters if every government official who received coverage perceived as unfavorable exerted a chilling effect on local TV news coverage by calling for an FCC investigation that could (if even remotely) imperil a station’s broadcast license.”

The Media Institute is a nonprofit research foundation working to advance sound communications policy, freedom of speech, and excellence in journalism. For more information, visit the Institute online at www.mediainstitute.org.