FCC proposal elicits heavy backlash

An FCC proposal has elicited heavy backlash from local news stations as well as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

The new rule would require broadcasters, on the national, state and local levels, to upload their public access records to the internet.  They already have to keep a “public inspection file,” including logs of political advertising that airs on their channel.  However, these records are kept on paper, in old-fashioned filing cabinets.

NAB recognizes that parts of the public file can likely be uploaded with relatively few difficulties, but notes that other portions – especially the political file – raise very complex implementation and other issues for both stations and the Commission,” according to the NAB.

The NAB’s opposition to this proposal is based on the potentially burdensome nature of creating and maintaining online files, especially since they must be updated often during political campaigns.  “I would merely note that most of the rest of the world has figured out ways to use the Internet to reduce workload and cost. I’m not sure the broadcasters want to take the position that they will be the one industry that can’t possibly be expected to use the Internet to improve efficiency,” says Steven Waldman, author of the report on which the FCC’s proposal is based.

Obviously there is pervasive, somewhat unscrupulous activity concerning political advertising that broadcasting stations would prefer to have locked in a basement than on the internet for all the world to see.

Does the NAB have an argument here?  Should the FCC be allowed to force companies to maintain their records using the latest technology?


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