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FCC rules TV channels to disclose political ads

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MUMBAI: US media and telecommunications regulator Federal Communications Commission has approved a controversial proposal requiring television stations to disclose details of political ads aired on their channels.

The FCC pushed through the legislation 2-1 despite stiff opposition from broadcasters with the Democratic commissioners in favour and the lone Republican opposed to the measure.

With the proposal through, local television stations like ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox need to publish detailed information about political advertising, including the cost of specific commercials on their websites. Starting 2014, all the TV stations will be brought under the ambit of the new rule.

The move has come in from criticism from National Association of Broadcasters which believes the rule will jeopardize the competitive standing of stations.

The broadcasters have criticised the FCC‘s proposal to include specific rates for individual advertisements contending that the disclose will hurt them financially and will put them at a disadvantage vis-a-vis their rivals. The broadcasters are also unhappy that the new rules won‘t apply to cable or other media platforms as well.

The television broadcasters stand to rake in more than $3 billion in political ads this year, say media watchers.

The commission staff spent 61 hours and incurred nearly $1,700 in copying costs to get the public file from eight stations in Baltimore, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said before the vote.

Earlier he had termed broadcasters who resisted the move as "against technology, against transparency and against journalism".

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