Despite concerns from Capitol Hill and others, including NRB, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) approved by partisan vote a new regulation requiring TV stations’ public files to be entered into an online database. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA), and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) were the most recent Members of Congress to voice concern about the rule this week.
NRB has warned against this move to require mandatory Internet disclosure of “political files” and information related to issue-advocacy organizations. In a 2011 public filing, NRB highlighted the startling acts of harassment, retaliation, and violence perpetrated against supporters of traditional marriage resulting from a similar Internet-posting rule in California during the “Proposition 8” debate. Also, noting that the Supreme Court has recognized the potential for harm in giving national exposure to such private citizen information, NRB pointed out that such a rule change would conflict with First Amendment protections that afford citizens a healthy measure of privacy regarding their social and political associations.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations