Reuters Report Kicks Off FCC, DOJ Probes Of Chinese Government-Related Programming On U.S. Stations
November 2, 2015 at 4:33 PM (PT)
REUTERS' investigation into whether foreign ownership rules have been violated by programming backed by a subsidiary of the Chinese government airing on stations in several major cities has prompted the FCC and the Justice Department to start probes of the company placing the programming backed by the Chinese government's CHINA RADIO INTERNATIONAL on American stations.
The FCC issued a statement late MONDAY saying, “Based on reports, the FCC will initiate an inquiry into the facts surrounding the foreign ownership issues raised in the stories, including whether the Commission’s statutory foreign ownership rules have been violated.”
"We are aware of the media reports and can neither confirm nor deny an ongoing review or investigation into the matter," said Justice Department spokesman MARC RAIMONDI. "We are committed to continuing to use the full range of tools and authorities under the Foreign Agents Registration Act to ensure proper foreign registration and filings."
The REUTERS investigation identified 33 stations in 14 countries airing the Chinese government-backed programming, and specifically noted that the Chinese government, through CRI, holds 60% of G&E STUDIO INC., operated by naturalized U.S. citizen JAMES SU, which leases most of the broadcast time on POTOMAC RADIO Chinese WCRW-A/WASHINGTON for over $720,000 a year and GLOBAL RADIO, LLC Chinese WNWR-A/PHILADELPHIA for over $600,000 per year. SU told REUTERS that his programming complies with U.S. law because his company leases rather than owns stations; the REUTERS story notes that under American law, those seeking to influence U.S. policy or public opinion for a foreign government must register with the Justice Department.