RTNDA Opposes FCC Sponsorship Rule Proposal
November 24, 2008 at 3:39 PM (PT)
The RADIO-TELEVISION NEWS DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION has filed comments with the FCC opposing stricter sponsorship identification rules for local radio and television stations, arguing that existing rules and disclosure requirements are sufficient to inform viewers about broadcast content that has been paid for, including embedded advertising, and that the proposals advanced by certain advocates would represent an unconstitutional intrusion into broadcast newsrooms. The docket was opened in response to the increasing use of product placement and other alternative methods of inserting paid commercial content into programs.
The RTNDA's comments echo the organization's position regarding the use of video news releases, cautioning the Commission not to open the door to, or otherwise legitimize, government regulation of the content of newscasts because of concerns about commercialism.
RTNDA Chairman ED ESPOSITO said, "The FCC's sponsorship identification rules are clear and have been working appropriately to inform viewers and listeners for many years. Yet there are some who insist that the FCC should engage in heavy-handed regulation, even in the absence of a problem. Broadcast journalists have a keen interest in protecting their credibility with viewers. The FCC should flatly reject any suggestion that it has an appropriate role in overseeing program content to the extent some advocacy groups propose, particularly content over which broadcasters have exercised independent editorial control."