NAB Sues FCC Over Political Ad Reporting

by , May 22, 2012, 10:47 AM
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Democratic-Donkey-GOP-Elephant-AThe National Association of Broadcasters wants to stop the Federal Communications Commission's proposed rules around political advertising disclosure -- and it is taking the regulatory group to court.

The new FCC proposal would require TV stations to reveal the advertising rates they charge to political candidates and political issue advertisers on a special Web site.

The NAB says the new rules would directly and “adversely” impact the NAB and TV stations -- but not that of its other local video competitors in the marketplace, presumably local cable operators and other local TV sales groups.

The D.C.-based trade group says the FCC actions are “arbitrary, capricious, and in excess of the Commission’s statutory authority, inconsistent with the First Amendment.”

The new rules would require major network-affiliated TV stations in the top 50 markets to reveal advertising rates within 30 days after the rules take effect. All other stations would be required to wait two years after the rules take effect. The new rules will not require posting of revealing past political advertising information.

TV political advertising data has already been available to the public at TV stations and at the FCC in paper form since 2002. The FCC’s effort is to secure easier public access and to “increase transparency."

Broadcasters have said the new rules put them at a disadvantage by revealing specific ad rates and details to competitors.

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