DC Circuit refuses to stay online political posting


GavelThe requirement that broadcast television stations post details of political advertising transactions in their online files will kick off 8/2/12 as scheduled, says the DC Circuit Court of Appeals – an NAB plea to stay the rules pending a hearing has been turned down.

NAB has now struck out twice trying to delay the rule – the FCC previously declined to stay its own rule based on NAB’s contention that it would prevail on its court challenge of the rule on the merits. The FCC is equally that the merits favor its position.

Television broadcasters believe the problem with the rule is that it puts them at a competitive disadvantage with all competing media, which will soon have access to sensitive business information while being able to protect its own.

NAB’s Dennis Wharton said, “NAB is disappointed by the panel’s decision. Even though the stay request was rejected, NAB’s court challenge to this new rule will continue and be debated on the merits in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. We continue to believe it is fundamentally unfair for local TV stations to be the only medium required to disclose on the Internet sensitive advertising rate information.”

Corie Wright of watchdog Free Press had a different opinion, saying, ““We are pleased, but not surprised, that the court cleared the way for the online public file rules to take effect on August 2. The court rightly rejected the NAB’s latest feeble attempt to curb public access to station political files. The NAB’s case for delay was incredibly weak, as today’s decision confirmed. This first round victory goes to transparency and the public, and we’ll continue to advocate for better access to this already public information.”

For now only network affiliated television stations in the top 50 DMAs are subject to the filing requirement. The FCC is holding virtual demonstrations of the interface used to accomplish this task on 7/30 and 7/31. Those interested need to need to sign in prior to the beginning of the events. Information is available on the main page of fcc.gov.