Monday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced new legislation to increase the oversight power of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in monitoring foreign sponsorships of U.S. broadcasts on radio and TV.
"Foreign governments shouldn’t be able to hide behind shell companies to fund misinformation and propaganda on American airwaves," Democratic Senator Brian Schatz said.
Schatz was joined by Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn and Representative Anna Eshoo to introduce the legislation.
Blackburn said foreign governments could "use shell companies to broadcast regime-funded propaganda across American airwaves. This legislation will protect consumer transparency by requiring the disclosure of foreign government-sponsored content."
As Reuters reported, rules for the FCC solidified in April of last year require the disclosure of sponsorship by a foreign government at the time of the broadcast. If a foreign government paid a radio or TV station indirectly or directly to broadcast content, transparency about that sponsorship is required.
Foreign governments would not be prohibited from sponsoring content on U.S. airwaves in the legislation's language.
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said Congress is trying to "increase transparency and ensure consumers know who is behind the information transmitted over public airwaves."