Sponsorship Identification Rules Amended

Posted on April 30th, 2021 by

The FCC has adopted an order updating its sponsorship identification rules to require disclosures of foreign government-provided programming on broadcast stations in certain circumstances.

The new requirements apply when stations lease time to any entity or individual that is a foreign government, a foreign political party, an agent acting on behalf of such entities, or a U.S.-based foreign media outlet.  Definitions of these terms are based on the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 and the Communications Act of 1934.  The order makes clear that the requirements, which include on-air announcements and timely placement of certain information in the station online public file, only apply where a block of time is leased to such entities, regardless of what those agreements are called, how they are styled, and whether they are reduced to writing. In those circumstances, the new rules require reasonable diligence by broadcast licensees to determine if its lessee is a foreign governmental entity such that disclosures are necessary.