Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) this week announced she is co-sponsoring a measure alongside Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to identify broadcasting content that foreign governments are underwriting. 

Called the Identifying Propaganda on Our Airwaves (IPA) Act, the bill directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to mandate that radio and television broadcast companies check foreign media databases to ascertain non-American sources of programming and advertising. 

“Americans deserve the right to make informed decisions about the media they consume,” Blackburn said in a statement. “Under current regulations, the New Axis of Evil can use shell companies to broadcast regime-funded propaganda across American airwaves. This legislation will protect consumer transparency by requiring the disclosure of foreign government-sponsored content.”

She and Schatz noted that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this summer invalidated a section of a 2021 FCC regulation that required disclosures in cases of a foreign entity sponsoring radio content. The court asserted that the regulatory body did not possess proper authority to mandate that broadcasters check federal databases to determine the identity of a commercial’s sponsor. The Senate legislation explicitly bestows upon the FCC the responsibility to ensure that broadcast companies check for foreign sponsorship and disclose it. 

A companion bill to the Blackburn-Schatz measure has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18).

“The American people deserve to know when radio programming they hear on public airwaves is foreign government-funded propaganda,” Eshoo said. “Our legislation unambiguously grants the FCC the authority to require broadcasters to conduct reasonable diligence to identify foreign agents and their shell companies so Americans will know who is funding the information on our public airwaves…. (Excerpt from The Tennesse Star)


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