Free, over-the-air television and radio; community-based, low-power FM radio stations; public radio and television; and the obligations of licensees to serve the public interest. A key principle of federal communications law is that in exchange for free use of the public airwaves broadcasters agree to take actions to benefit the public. These principles are enshrined in the Radio Act of 1927 and the Communications Act of 1934 in the mandate that "broadcasting serve the public interest, convenience and necessity."
US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) CEO Michael Pack implemented critical changes on his first day to steer the agency back toward its mission: “to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.” Addressing the staff through an introductory email, Pack focused on his three goals: making the agency more effective; ensuring that nothing interferes with the ability to report the news; and improving agency morale.
Michael Pack, a conservative filmmaker who recently took over a United States global media agency, removed the chiefs of four news organizations under its purview (Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia; Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting), according to people with knowledge of the decision, in an action that raises questions about their editorial independence.
The Federal Communications Commission took important steps to foster the growth of next-generation data services enabled by the transition of digital television (DTV) to the ATSC 3.0 standard. That standard expands the potential ancillary and supplemental uses of broadcast spectrum for new and innovative services, such as autonomous vehicles, smart agriculture, or telemedicine, that will complement the nation’s burgeoning 5G network.
The Federal Communications Commission will hold an Open Meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and related agency telework and headquarters access policies, this meeting will be in a wholly electronic format and will be open to the public on the Internet via live feed from the FCC’s web page and on the FCC’s YouTube channel.
Recently, 11 local broadcasters were caught airing “news” segments that were actually advertisements praising Amazon’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Experts say the ads—which featured an Amazon public relations representative pretending to be a reporter—not only violated the law, but are a shining example of how media consolidation is slowly destroying quality local journalism. The ads were part of an Amazon press release lauding the company for its “innovation” during the COVID-19 crisis.
FCC, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Advise Governors on Importance of Communications
In joint letters Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs encouraged the nation's governors to provide necessary access and resources to the communications workers helping to keep Americans connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC and CISA recommend the governors:
In this Order, we adopt the attached Consent Decree entered into between the Federal Communications Commission and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Sinclair).
Democratic commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks have blasted the Federal Communications Commission’s Republican majority for approving a record $48 million fine against Sinclair Broadcast Group that opponents say allows the broadcast giant to avoid tougher scrutiny of its actions. On May 6, the FCC disclosed an agreement with Sinclair that settles three ongoing investigations into its actions and calls for the company to abide by the terms of a 17-page consent decree that was released May 22.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the June Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 9, 2020:
The FCC's June 2020 meeting agenda includes the following: