Court: Let FCC Handle Challenges to Enhanced Disclosure

D.C. Court of Appeals to let FCC deal with broadcaster challenges to enhanced disclosure decision rather than stepping in beforehand.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will let the Federal Communications Commission deal with broadcaster challenges to its enhanced disclosure decision rather than stepping in beforehand.

Broadcasters had asked the court to step in after the FCC voted to require enhanced station disclosure of their programming -- part of an effort by the agency to boost local-station localism requirements in the wake of criticism of an increasingly consolidated media.

But the court said Friday that it would hold off on hearing that challenge until 30 days after the FCC came out with a decision on the petitions to reconsider its vote. The court also directed the FCC to file a status report within 60 days on its progress with hearing those challenges.

Media Access Project, which supports enhanced disclosure, asked the court to hold the appeals in abeyance and the court agreed.

Broadcasters have asked the FCC to reconsider that decision, but they also took it to court, arguing that it would increase their paperwork burden by more than 1,000% and would draw resources from their public-service efforts rather than boosting them.

The Office of Management and Budget reviews new rules to make sure that they do not unduly increase the paperwork burden on regulated industries. Just last week, it rejected the FCC's new leased-access rule change because it said the commission had not justified the increased paperwork and shortened window for supplying that information.