A new study has been proposed by the FCC that would look into how the media gathers news.
The proposal has sparked a backlash among many who have said it may be part of a governmental effort to intimidate journalists or control the public's intake of information.
The FCC claims the study is intended to determine if news organizations are meeting the public's "critical information needs."
In a statement Friday the FCC said â??Any suggestion that the FCC intends to regulate the speech of news media or plans to put monitors in America's newsrooms is false. The FCC looks forward to fulfilling its obligation to Congress to report on barriers to entry into the communications marketplace, and is currently revising its proposed study to achieve that goal.â??
The proposal would apply to newspapers, websites, and radio and television stations and would cover "eight critical information" subjects including public health, politics, transportation, the environment and "economic opportunities."
The Washington Post reports government researchers would ask reporters, anchors and news managers to describe their "news philosophy" and how they select stories. They would also ask "Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your [viewers, listeners or readers] that was rejected by management? What was the reason given for that decision?"
After news outlets blasted the idea of what they call "pressuring the media organizations into covering certain stories," the FCC ordered the removal of questions about news philosophy and editorial judgment, the Washington Post reports.
The study is scheduled to begin in the spring.