NAB Takes FCC to Court Over New Rules

May 22, 2012  •  Post A Comment

The National Association of Broadcasters is taking the Federal Communications Commission to court in an effort to put the brakes on proposed rules governing disclosure of political advertising rates, Adweek reports.

The FCC voted last month to require that TV stations put their political advertising files online to make them more readily accessible, as previously reported. On Monday the NAB filed an appeal with the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asking for a court review of the requirement.

The story reports: “In the notice of appeal, the NAB alleges that the FCC’s rule is ‘arbitrary, capricious, in excess of the commission’s statutory authority, inconsistent with the First Amendment, and otherwise not in accordance with law.’ The NAB is requesting that the court rule it unlawful and set aside the FCC order.”

Broadcasters campaigned vigorously against the rule, but were rebuffed in their efforts. They argued that “moving the political advertising rates from paper files to online would skew the market by giving other local media outlets a competitive advantage and commercial advertisers new negotiating leverage,” the story reports. “Dismissing those arguments, the Democrats on the commission, led by chairman Julius Genachowski, pushed the rule through in late April with the lone Republican commissioner voting against it.”

An FCC spokesman responded to the NAB’s case in a statement, saying: "The public file rules are a common-sense update by the FCC to move from paper to online access to public information in the digital age. The rules are consistent with Congress’ directive to ensure public availability while providing cost-savings for broadcasters."

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