Legislation Would Reverse Court Decision Regarding Need to Search Federal Databases Regarding Foreign Programming

In 2021, the FCC adopted a rule requiring broadcasters to provide special sponsorship IDs for any content provided by a foreign government or their agent. As part of that rule, stations were required to check with two government sources to verify the real identity of programming sponsors: the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) website and the Commission’s U.S.-Based Foreign Media Outlets reports. Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals—in National Association of Broadcasters v. FCC—struck down the portion of the rules requiring stations to independently check these databases. Thus, while the requirement to identify the source of the content remained, the obligation to check out federal databases was eliminated by the court’s decision.

The new legislation “Identifying Propaganda on Our Airwaves (IPA) Act” was introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA). It would reverse the court’s decision and require stations to check federal databases to verify whether the content broadcast by stations was paid for or furnished by a foreign government or entity. FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Commissioner Starks both issued statements in support of the IPA Act.

You can find more information about the new legislation here.