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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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February 21st, 2014
06:23 PM ET

The government in your newsroom

(CNN) – A proposed study written for the Federal Communications Commission is drawing criticism, with news organizations accusing the FCC of infringing on the rights of the freedom of the press.

A pilot program that was supposed to go to news organizations in a South Carolina city to find out what barriers exist for the population on "critical information needs" included questions like: "What is the news philosophy of the station?" "Who decides which stories are covered?" "Have you ever suggested coverage that was rejected by management?"

This FCC program, and questions about government meddling in a fair and free press, generated a lot of controversy after FCC commissioner Ajit Pai decided to speak out against the study in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

"... the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run...As a consumer of news, I have an opinion. But my opinion shouldn't matter more than anyone else's merely because I happen to work at the FCC​," Pai wrote.

In response, the FCC chairman announced that the questions about news philosophy and judgment and choices would not be asked.

And on Friday, the FCC announced the study would no longer include any questions to men and women in newsrooms.

"Media owners and journalists will no longer be asked to participate in the Columbia, S.C. pilot study," the FCC said in a statement.

Watch our interview with FCC commissioner Ajit Pai in the video above.

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