Kerry to Intro VNR Bill - Broadcasting & Cable

Kerry to Intro VNR Bill

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Look for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to introduce his bill Tuesday requiring that all government-issued video-news releases be clearly identified.

The GAO has said that unidentified government VNR’s violate prohibitions on "covert propaganda," but Justice disagrees. The issue has been on the front burner lately, particularly with Democrats, following revelations about a pay-for-play government contract with conservative Columnist Armstrong Williams.

The Kerry bill was expected to look very similar to one he and a handful of other Senators offered two weeks ago as an amendment to another bill.

He agreed to withdraw that amendment with the promise of a markup and hearing on a separate bill in the Senate Commerce Committee, which Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has scheduled for this Thursday (April 28).

The withdrawn Kerry amendment would have required the disclosure to appear throughout the duration of the VNR, but a spokeswoman could not confirm that language remained.

A separate amendment to an appropriations bill that would also require VNR disclosure passed in the Senate and now must go to conference to be reconciled with the original House version.

Kerry’s staffers have said their bill covers more territory than that amendment and would not be precluded by its eventual passage.

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