NAB takes online TV political file rule to court


NAB / National Association of BroadcastersIt seems the very height of unfairness for the FCC to force television stations to post sensitive political advertising information online while imposing no such requirement on television’s competitors, prompting the NAB to ask the DC Circuit for relief from the FCC’s “arbitrary and capricious” rule.

In a Petition for Review filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, NAB stated:

“NAB is a nonprofit trade association that advocates for free local television and radio stations and broadcast networks before Congress, the Commission and other agencies, and courts. In the FCC order, the Commission decided, inter alia, to adopt a requirement that all television broadcasters (but not their competitors in the video marketplace) publish political advertising-related information, including advertising rates the stations charge to political candidates and political ‘issue advertisers,’ on a government website. The Commission’s changes to broadcasters’ disclosure obligations and other operations, as well as other action taken in the FCC Order, will directly and adversely impact NAB and the broadcasters whose interests it represents. For this reason, NAB actively participated in the Commission proceeding below.

“NAB seeks relief from the Commission’s action on the grounds that it is arbitrary, capricious, in excess of the Commission’s statutory authority, inconsistent with the First Amendment, and otherwise not in accordance with the law. Accordingly, NAB requests that this Court hold unlawful, vacate, and set aside the FCC Order and grant such other relief as may be necessary and proper under the circumstances.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We never understood how anybody in their right mind could fail to see how unfair this rule is. It is right and proper for television’s competitors to get a free pass on disclosure AND a convenient guide to sensitive broadcast pricing information?

Even if one believes political spending information should be put in the public domain, doesn’t it make sense that such disclosure must be an obligation of all advertising venues?

How anybody can make the case that it is OK to hit broadcast television with this rule and no other medium is simply beyond us.



  1. “We never understood how anybody in their right mind could fail to see how unfair this rule is.”

    You’re dealing with the government here; fairness has nothing to do with it. Neither does being in one’s right mind.

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