Commerce Committee passes less restrictive VNR bill

October 21, 2005

Government video news releases (VNRs) appear to remain a safe source of B-roll after the Senate Commerce Committee approved a watered-down version of legislation that makes the burden of identifying the source of the footage far less onerous than originally proposed Thursday, Oct. 20.

The bill would require television and cable channels to clearly notify viewers of the source of government-produced stories. The FCC will be directed to determine rules on when such notification must be given.

The legislation is far less burdensome than the original bill introduced by Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). That measure would have required continuous disclosure of the source of government VNRs and prevented broadcasters from removing the disclaimer.

The version approved last week only applies to instances when television or cable channels use government-sourced VNRs in their entirety.

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