Slow Start to Broadcaster Disclosure, Important Work AheadSubmitted by Cheryl Thu Oct 27 2011 11:31:30 GMT-0400 (EDT)
This morning the FCC started a process to bring broadcaster disclosure to modern technology to an essential public disclosure process. We had understood that this process would start with a more limited "inquiry" proceeding, but that would rapidly move to fruition by the spring so that we would have the benefit of the new and improved disclosure by this summer, in time for the 2012 elections.
We had expected a start in the inquiry proceeding considering new and improved disclosures today. We supported this slower process with the condition of its speedy resolution on all fronts. The Chairman and the Commissioners did not publicly promise a date for the start of this proceeding today. We understand that we should expect to see that item early next week. Without the prompt start of the process, the prompt resolution of it will be impossible. Journalists and the public will be waiting impatiently as next summer's debates in national and local elections and we all hope to see increased news coverage of civic affairs.
We are pleased to hear the Commission emphasize the importance of a searchable database, which is a critical element for the data's usefulness to the public and researchers alike. It was good to see the unanimous recognition by all four Commissioners that moving broadcaster disclosure online is an obvious and fully justified proposal.
UCC OC Inc. strongly urges members of the public, journalists and scholars to come forward to explain in the upcoming FCC process the value this heretofore hidden information to their work. We will be vigilant in pursuing the speedy completion of this proceeding.