Court Denies Stay of Public File Rule
Political ad rates at top TV stations will be posted online as of Aug. 3
July 27, 2012
WASHINGTON: A federal
court has denied a request by the broadcast TV lobby to stay a new regulation
requiring TV stations to post political advertising rates online. The U.S.
Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today denied a petition for an emergency
stay of the rule filed by the National Association of broadcasters two weeks
ago. The rule goes into effect Aug. 2.
The court simply stated that the “Petitioner has not satisfied the stringent
requirements for a stay pending court review.” Judges Janice Rogers Brown,
Brett M. Kavanaugh and Thomas B. Griffith delivered the decision.
By law, TV stations must offer their lowest unit ad rates to qualified
candidates during a set period before elections. Those transactions are then
documented and kept in a station’s public inspection file—traditionally, a set
of hard-copy records kept at the main studio. Public inspection files have
heretofore been accessible only by physically visiting the TV station facility.
The Federal Communications Commission this year ordered the files to be
uploaded to a common database. Broadcasters objected, mostly because of the
political ad rate disclosure.
NAB claimed in its petition that the rule would result in “irreparable harm…
because it compels a television station to post the prices for specific
advertisements to a public website immediately after sales.”
The FCC and other parties opposing the stay said the NAB failed to provide
evidence of “irreparable harm,” because the files are already public. The FCC
said the NAB did not meet the criteria for obtaining one. The court agreed.
~ Deborah D. McAdams
July 12, 2012: “FCC
Rejects NAB Petition to Stay Public Inspection File Rule”
“We find that the public has a strong interest in implementation of the online
public file rules… because these new rules will largely eliminate the
substantial expense and inconvenience to the public of traveling to the station
and paying for paper copies and greatly enhance transparency in political
spending in particular.”
July 10, 2012: NAB
Files Motion to Stay FCC Public File Rule”
The NAB filed a lawsuit with the D.C. Court of Appeals in
May, asking to have the rule vacated. It has now requested that a stay remain
in effect pending the outcome of a complete judicial review.
May 24, 2012: “Broadcasters
File Suit Against FCC’s Political File Rules”
Less than a month after the FCC ordered broadcasters to post political ad rates
online, the National Association of Broadcasters has filed a lawsuit against
the commission, opposing the new rule.
April 27, 2012: “FCC
Orders Broadcasters to Put Political Ad Rates Online”
Once the rules go into effect, TV stations will have six months to post their
existing public files online.
~ Deborah D. McAdams