Washington, D.C. (NRB) – National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) announced last week its opposition to the confirmation of Gigi Sohn to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
“Ms. Sohn is an activist lawyer who has made no secret of her contempt for conservative media,” said NRB CEO Troy A. Miller. “As a professional association that exists to keep platforms open for Christian communicators, we have serious concern about Ms. Sohn’s demonstrated hostility to broadcasters and her apparent openness to the use of FCC regulatory action to censor ideas with which she personally disagrees.”
NRB’s membership represents hundreds of local radio and television stations, industries that are highly regulated by the FCC. Our members are Christian and conservative media networks and stations, and we are committed to keeping these channels of mass communication open for Christian communicators to speak freely. Gigi Sohn has openly expressed that she views the regulatory agency to which she has been nominated as a potential instrument for censoring views with which she disagrees—for example, by jeopardizing broadcast licenses to limit what kinds of political perspectives can be expressed on-air.
This censorious disposition is visible throughout Sohn’s career. She is the founder and former president of Public Knowledge, a public interest advocacy organization. This organization demanded, with extreme vitriol, that AT&T and other carriers drop conservative outlets from their programming lineups, despite the fact that Public Knowledge once joined forces with these same conservative media outlets to oppose media market monopolies that risk reducing press diversity. The historic animosity toward political dissent expressed by Sohn and her organization plants extreme doubt that the free speech interests of religious broadcasters would be protected on Sohn’s watch.
In light of controversy over her involvement on the board of directors of now-defunct Locast, Sohn has pledged her temporary and voluntary recusal from broadcast television and retransmission consent issues for the first three years of her term if confirmed. In addition to our concerns about Sohn’s hostility to the First Amendment and potential risk this creates for religious broadcasters, NRB notes that this recusal sidelines her from key regulatory issues that are part and parcel of serving on the FCC.
NRB urged the Senate to reject this nominee in a letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on April 13, 2022. Read the full letter here.