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Chairman Issues Warning On Leaking Details Of Internal Documents APB Note

April 9, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Chairman Mark S. Fowler of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday warned fellow commissioners and members of the agency’s staff not to disclose details of internal documents.

William A. Russell, Jr., the FCC’s director of congressional and public affairs, said the warning was contained in a memorandum from Fowler.

Although previous leaks had led to investigations to try to track down officials leaking confidential information, Daniel L. Brenner, senior adviser to Fowler, said there was no investigation ordered this time.

The Fowler memo was issued after Communications Daily, a trade publication, reported on Friday important details of a commission document prepared in advance of a public debate at this Thursday’s meeting.

Jonathan Miler, managing editor of the publication, said he had not been contacted by the commission in connection with the leak.

″That shows a certain wisdom on their part, because we have no intention of telling them″ who is giving us information, he said.

At issue is an article saying that the commission would rule that the presence of three over-the-air signals as ″effective competition″ for a cable system. Under a new cable law, cable systems with ″effective competition″ would be free to raise their rates.

A provision of the law specifies that local government rate regulation for basic service will be permitted after Jan. 1, 1987 only when the cable system is ″not subject to effective competition.″

Defining ″effective competition″ was left to the FCC.

Cable operators had argued for a very low threshold, so that the largest possible number of cable systems would be rate deregulated. Cities had argued for a large threshold number so that local governments could maintain rate control over as many systems as possible.

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