RTNDA wants FCC off Comcast's case


The FCC has no business levying fines on Comcast news service CN8 for running video news releases on its cable network, says the Radio-Television News Director’s Association on behalf of over 70 media organizations. The FCC called Comcast to task for running VNRs which it viewed as essentially promotional in nature, despite the fact that Comcast received no compensation for running them.

Discussing the intent of Congress’s payola statute, RTNDA argued, "That statute essentially sought to require identifications in situations where money was paid to a station in exchange for the broadcast of certain material…The legislative history shows Congress did not intend for the FCC to dictate how stations should make identifications when they independently decide to use third-party resource materials such as written press releases or their modern day electronic equivalents."

RTNDA said holding journalists responsible for divining the motives of their sources takes the FCC onto an "extraordinarily dangerous slippery slope toward government censorship, and has imposed a chilling effect on the use all types of third-party materials that electronic journalists may independently decide are of interest or importance to their viewers."