When providing briefings on FCC issues at a number of broadcast conventions in the past few months, I find that broadcasters are most often surprised by the relatively new FCC rule that requires that they verify that any buyer of programming time on their station is not an agent of a foreign government.  This week, the burden that this rule (about which we wrote here) imposed on broadcasters was eased, when a Court overturned one aspect of the obligations imposed by the FCC.

The FCC rule, Section73.1212(j), is designed to ensure that all broadcast programming that is paid for or sponsored by a foreign government or one of its agents is specifically identified on the air as having foreign government backing.  The FCC required specific wording for on-air identifications for this programming paid for or produced by foreign governments or those that they finance.  In addition, broadcast stations are required to get assurances in writing from all parties who pay for programming on their stations that the programmer is not a foreign government or an agent of any such government.  The FCC rule went further, requiring that each station verify by checking FCC and DOJ databases that any programmer who certified that they were not a foreign government agent was in fact not a government agent.  It was that last requirement – the requirement to check DOJ and FCC databases – that the Court rejected this week.
Continue Reading Court Overturns Part of FCC Requirement that Broadcasters Confirm that Programmers are Not Foreign Government Agents