DC Circ. Says FCC Overstepped On Foreign Sponsorship Rule

By Christopher Cole (July 12, 2022, 4:34 PM EDT) — The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday ruled the Federal Communications Commission overstepped its bounds by requiring broadcasters to double-check that foreign governments are not seeking to sponsor U.S. programs.

A three-judge panel said the FCC cannot require radio broadcasters to check federal sources to verify sponsors’ identities, as it lacks authority to impose verification requirements. Broadcasters had argued the rule imposed undue hardships.

The FCC passed the rule last year in response to concerns that the Chinese and Russian governments have been secretly leasing airtime to air propaganda on American radio. The requirements imposed a five-step verification process to prevent such activity….

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