Powell Opposing Flag Exemption for News


Broadcasters are up in arms over a rumored Federal Communications Commission plan to exempt news programming from the broadcast flag's Internet-retransmission protections, but no one at the FCC claims to be pushing the idea.

An aide to chairman Michael Powell said his boss opposes the idea, while a staffer for Jonathan Adelstein, the commissioner purportedly pushing the exemption, told MSTV's (the Association for Maximum Service Television) fall conference Thursday that her boss' support would be "news to me."

Local broadcasters said they must be able to stop unauthorized distribution of news -- the only significant programming many produce -- if they are to protect their franchises.

"It is incomprehensible to me that some people think that which we spend most of our money on isn't entitled to protection," Cox Television chief Andrew Fisher told MSTV earlier in the day.

The FCC has asked for industry input on the exemption because individuals may want to e-mail news clips about family members or important public-affairs events.