Though broadcast station owners have been lobbying heavily against the change, the FCC voted yesterday to make political advertisement funding sources available online. This mandatory new guideline supersedes the previous mandate to make them available at the station. This meant interested parties would actually have to physically go to the station to review the funding contributors.
FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn comments on the new regulation:
“In putting these files online, the FCC is requiring broadcasters to take a step that innumerable other entities have opted for since the World Wide Web became a part of our daily lives, and putting public files on the Internet in 2012 makes sense,”
“It is the expected means of data viewing, and this action requires no unreasonable amount of production or disclosure.”
“I see no reason to limit the reach of the online public file. We do not restrict, in any way, shape or form, who can access the existing paper files, and I see no need to do so for this new regime.”
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also comments on the new regulation:
“The record does not show that there’s any likelihood of … commercial harms coming out of this, because we’re talking about information that is already publicly available,”
“While it’s information that is difficult for an ordinary consumer to access, it’s not difficult for commercial businesses to access. So any existing commercial business that believes there’s value in those rates is already getting them.”
Without these new regulations, it’s damn near impossible for viewers to know where the message is truly coming from. If broadcasters are going to air these ads, there should be a degree of transparency. We are definitely living in a time of big government crackdown, and revealing funding sources will prove to be only part of the movement. We’ll keep you posted as more news becomes available.