FCC chief after Alex Jones controversy: Enforcement has nothing to do with content

FCC chief after Alex Jones controversy: Enforcement has nothing to do with content
© Courtesy of Alex Jones

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday said the FCC this week shut down a pirate radio station because it was broadcasting illegally, not because it was known for airing controversial radio host Alex Jones.

"Some have criticized the FCC for removing Mr. Jones from the airwaves in Austin allegedly because of the content of his program," Paj said during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing. "Many others have praised us for allegedly taking that same action."

"It is important to make clear that our pirate radio enforcement, including this one, has nothing to do with the content that pirate radio stations air," he continued. "We act against pirate radio stations because they are violating the law by broadcasting on the FM airwaves without a license."

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Jones in recent days has claimed to be the subject of censorship.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that the station, Liberty Radio, was hit with a $15,000 fine and temporarily pulled from the airwaves. The FCC is charging the station with illegally broadcasting on an FM wavelength. 

The station frequently airs re-broadcasts of "The Alex Jones Show." 

"Normally our pirate radio efforts don’t make national news, but this one has, because the pirate radio station in question was airing Alex Jones’ show," Paj said. 

Jones, who founded the outlet InfoWars, has been booted from multiple social media platforms in the past week, including Facebook and YouTube, who claim he has violated their "hate speech" policies. His content has also been removed from Spotify and Vimeo, and Twitter suspended him temporarily for violating their policies. 

Jones has been widely criticized for pushing unfounded theories. Jones is also the subject of several lawsuits, including over his claims that the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax.