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Sunlight Foundation Letter to FCC on Broadcast Rules

Sunlight Foundation Letter to FCC on Broadcast Rules

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Published by Sunlight Foundation
Letter to FCC urging them to adopt strong rules requiring broadcasters to put the political file online
Letter to FCC urging them to adopt strong rules requiring broadcasters to put the political file online

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Published by: Sunlight Foundation on Apr 20, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/20/2012

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April 20, 2012The Honorable Julius GenachowskiChairmanFederal Communications Commission445 Twelfth Street, SWWashington, DC 20554Via Federal Communications Commission Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS)http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/Re: FCC Rulemaking, MB Docket Nos. 00-168; 00-44; FCC 11-162, Standardized andEnhanced Disclosure Requirements for Television Broadcast Licensee Public InterestObligations.Dear Chairman Genachowski:The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency. We arecommitted to improving access to government information by making it available online,redefining “public” information as meaning “online.” We strongly support theCommission’s proposal to require television broadcasters to replace paper political fileswith an online database of information.Placing detailed information about political advertising online is fundamental tobroadcasters satisfying their responsibility to serve the needs of their communities inexchange for the use of the public spectrum. Little is more fundamental to thefunctioning of our democracy than voters’ understanding of who is influencing our elections. Broadcasters are in the position of readily making this information available tothe public by placing the contents of their political file online. Making public informationabout who is paying for political ads, which candidates the ads support or oppose,where they are being run, and how much is being spent on them has always been in thepublic’s interest. It is currently too easy to mislead the public about the source of moneybehind a political ad.The Sunlight Foundation is concerned by reports that broadcasters are suggesting thatby limiting the amount of information contained in the online political file, they may stillsatisfy their public interest obligation. Specifically, broadcasters are arguing in favor of providing only aggregate data on political advertising sales, omitting information aboutwhether a station accepted or rejected a request to purchase time, the date and time apolitical advertising message aired, and the class of time purchased. The broadcasters

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