Court Denies NAB Effort to Delay Online Posting

Says broadcasters did not meet threshold for emergency stay
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The U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit on Friday denied
the National Association of Broadcasters' petition for an emergency stay of the
Aug. 2 deadline for TV stations to start posting their public files online,
including political files for the top 200 network affiliates.

"Petitioner has not satisfied the stringent
requirements for a stay pending court review," said the court without
elaboration.

Two weeks ago, NAB
asked the court to block the FCC's implementation of its online political file
rules
, only one in a series of broadcaster moves to try and stop the FCC
from posting individual TV station political spot prices online when cable and
satellite competitors have no similar online reporting requirement.

Scheduled to take
effect Aug. 2, the rules require the top four network affiliated stations in
the top 50 markets to start sending any information they must keep in their
station paper political files, including spot prices, to the FCC for posting in
a national, online database. The FCC will do a year-in check of the process
then plans to apply the requirement to all TV stations a year after that.

In its petition,
NAB, which has already asked the same court to overturn the rules and had asked
the FCC to stay enforcement of them, had said the emergency stay was warranted
because it is likely to win its court challenge on the merits and that it is
likely to suffer competitive harms if there is no stay -- essentially the same
arguments it made to the FCC in calling for it to postpone enforcement until
the court weighs in. The court did not agree.

The FCC has already
denied the stay request, so it looks as though the Aug. 2 deadline will have to
be met.

"We are pleased, but not surprised, that the court cleared the way for the online public file rules to take effect on August 2," said Free Press policy counsel Corie Wright. "The court rightly rejected the NAB's latest feeble attempt to curb public access to station political files. The NAB's case for delay was incredibly weak, as today's decision confirmed."

"NAB is disappointed by the panel's decision," said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton. "Even though the stay request was rejected, NAB's court challenge to this new rule will continue and be debated on the merits in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. 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."

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