The FCC this week announced that broadcasters must now comply with new rules designed to identify when programming is run on U.S. stations that was provided by a foreign governmental entity pursuant to a lease of airtime. While this seems like a narrow purpose, the new rules will impose a burden on broadcasters. Because of First Amendment considerations, the FCC cannot totally prohibit the broadcast of such programming, but it adopted this rule to ensure that audiences are informed about programming backed by a foreign government. The NAB and other groups have appealed the FCC’s rules, and that appeal is pending. The court also denied a request to delay the requirements of the new rules from going into effect. Thus, broadcasters must begin to comply with the rules now.
The FCC’s rules require broadcasters to make a very specific sponsorship identification disclosure in programming aired under an agreement for the lease of airtime if that programming has been supplied by a “foreign governmental entity” (defined in the rule), or if anyone involved in the production or distribution of that programming aired pursuant to the lease agreement (or a sub-lease) qualifies as a foreign governmental entity. A foreign government entity is defined by the FCC rule (Section 73.1212(j)) to “include governments of foreign countries, foreign political parties, agents of foreign principals, and United States-based foreign media outlets.” The rule goes on to give other specific definitions of these terms.
Continue Reading New Rules on the Identification of Foreign Government-Provided Programs Affects All Broadcasters – Now in Effect