FCC To Require Big Market TV Stations To Put Political Ad Info Online
The Federal Communications Commission on Friday took a big step toward making political campaigns more transparent by requiring that the 50 largest TV media market stations post online information about who is reserving political advertising time and sponsoring commercials.
"The Commission's action is an important victory for transparency and accountability in our nation's public policy making," said Meredith McGehee, Policy Director for the Campaign Legal Center, a non-profit civil rights law firm specializing in campaign finance law. "Keeping this information in file cabinets that required a personal visit to the TV station served only to make it difficult to hold broadcasters accountable for meeting the few requirements they have -- reasonable access, equal opportunity and lowest unit charge."
The 2-1 vote by the FCC is especially important in a presidential campaign season where independent political groups that claim to be unaffiliated with candidates and political parties are buying millions of dollars of political ads--most of them overwhelmingly negative. Even though the FCC decision will not affect smaller media markets, where it costs less to monopolize the airwaves, the new transparency policy should make electioneering more accountable.
The FCC decision takes affect later this year and is a victory for public-interest groups that have long sought such transparency.