The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is actively promoting a proposal that would require local television stations to post information about political advertising on an FCC central website. Local television stations are currently required to maintain public files at their offices for inspection by members of the public. The files normally include information about programming, staffing, and spending on political advertisements. The problem is that few people know about the filing requirement and therefore very few people access the files. The FCC proposal seeks to provide broader access to the public by requiring the television stations to upload the files to an FCC-operated website. Critics assert that the change would be an unnecessary financial burden for local stations and does not clearly benefit the public. However, advocates for the proposal claim that the requirement will make it easier to access public information and provides greater transparency about the political advertisements during political campaigns. In addition, the FCC notes that initial uploading of the files will cost less than $1,000 for most television stations and will save television stations money in the long run by avoiding printing and storage costs. The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal at an April 27 meeting and it seems likely that the measure will pass.

« »