* D.C. appeals court denies NAB's stay request
* Broadcasters must post political files online Aug. 2
* NAB says FCC's rules are unfair to local TV stations
By Jasmin Melvin
WASHINGTON, July 27 A U.S. federal appeals court
on Friday cleared the way for new rules to take effect next week
that will force broadcasters to publish political advertising
The court denied an emergency motion from the National
Association of Broadcasters to stop the rules from taking effect
during a larger judicial review.
The Federal Communications Commission adopted the rules in
April to provide insight on campaign spending ahead of
November's congressional and presidential elections. They will
reveal who is paying for political campaign ads and just how
much they are shelling out.
The NAB has said its members stand to lose millions of
dollars in ad revenue because cable and Internet competitors,
who are not subject to the rules, will get an unfair advantage
for political advertising.
"We continue to believe it is fundamentally unfair for local
TV stations to be the only medium required to disclose on the
Internet sensitive advertising rate information," Dennis
Wharton, NAB's executive vice president of communications, said
in a statement.
The trade group filed its emergency motion with the U.S.
Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
earlier in the month. The D.C. appeals court said in a filing
that the trade group had not met "the stringent requirements for
a stay pending court review."
The four biggest TV broadcasters in the top 50 media markets
will have to upload their political files to a database hosted
on the FCC's website beginning Aug. 2.
TV stations have been making public their paper records of
campaign advertising buys and other community-related issues
since 1938 as part of their public interest obligation. But
obtaining those files is currently a time-consuming,
The data broadcasters will post online includes detailed
information on who paid for political ads, key personnel of the
groups buying ads, when political ads aired and rejections of
requests to buy air time.
The four biggest broadcasters are ABC, operated by Walt
Disney Co, CBS Corp, News Corp's Fox,
and NBC, controlled by Comcast Corp.
The NAB filed a petition for review in April with the D.C.
appeals court, charging that the rules are arbitrary,
capricious, violate free speech protections in the U.S.
Constitution and go beyond the FCC's statutory authority.
That court challenge still stands, and will be debated on
the merits, Wharton said.
The FCC declined to comment.