FCC firm on political ad rate proposal

MUMBAI: The Federal Communications Commission has defended its proposal that requires stations to post online the rates they charge politicians for commercials.

The proposal has not gone down well with broadcasters who fear that disclosing commercial rates online would hurt them competitively.

Speaking at the National Association of Broadcasters, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said broadcasters who resist the move are "against technology, against transparency and against journalism." He noted that estimates put broadcast political ad spending at $3 billion in 2012.

Genachowski said the FCC will vote on the proposal later this month.

Congress requires TV stations to make public information. However, the idea of moving from the file cabinet to the Internet is bothering the broadcasters.

"Despite the proud history of broadcast journalism and the many innovative products broadcasters deploy today to harness digital technology to inform, explain as well as entertain, broadcasters and a few others have strongly resisted online disclosure," Genachowski told the audience at a NAB event.

"Congress explicitly requires broadcasters to maintain, and make available for public inspection, a complete record of a request to purchase broadcast time that is made by or on behalf of a legally qualified candidate," he added.

The new rule, if passed, would go into effect by late summer or early fall at the latest, still in time for the 2012 US general elections.

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