Source: Robert Besser

WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has adopted regulations requiring all radio and television stations to disclose on-air whether a foreign government is directly or indirectly paying for a program’s content.

Currently, radio and television stations are not required to identify foreign governments being involved in radio and television programming.

“The order increases transparency, ensuring audiences are aware when a foreign government, or its representatives, uses the airwaves to persuade the American public,” the FCC said in a statement.

Jessica Rosenworcel, the acting chairwoman of the FCC, said foreign government-sponsored programming has greatly increased in recent years.

“We know that foreign entities are purchasing time on broadcast stations in markets across the country, including Chinese government-sponsored programming and Russian government-sponsored programming, right here in our nation’s capital,” Rosenworcel said.

Rosenworcel added that broadcasters will now be required to verify whether foreign governments are paying directly or even indirectly for air time.

When told no foreign government is involved, the broadcasters will still be required to compare sponsors of the paid program with the Justice Department’s Foreign Agent Registration Act website and the FCC’s foreign media outlet reports, Rosenworcel noted.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Broadcasters said it is in agreement with the FCC’s goal of public disclosure of foreign government-sponsored programming, but it also noted that the new rules create “burdens for the vast majority of broadcasters that do not air this content.”