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Eshoo Wants FCC Investigation of RT, Sputnik Broadcasts

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) has called on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to investigate Russian state-sponsored media outlets RT and Sputnik.

She points out that the intelligence community in the U.S. has concluded both meddled in the elections and also that this is her third letter she has sent to the chairman seeking an investigation. She says Pai's responses to the previous two were to dismiss her concerns while failing to fully address them.

She wants the FCC to look into the following:

"Were RT and Sputnik transmitting over U.S. airwave licensee stations and were those broadcast stations in compliance with FCC foreign sponsorship disclosure rules at that time?

"For what percentage of airtime were the broadcasters transmitting broadcast from RT and Sputnik, respectively?

"If the broadcasters were not in compliance under the FCC’s foreign state sponsorship rules, what steps is the Commission taking to address those transgressions, including but not limited to the revocation of broadcast reauthorization of the U.S. stations?"

"“It is increasingly clear that the ability of RT and Sputnik to broadcast over public airwaves without disclosing the true sponsor of this programming had harmful effects on the public interest,” Eshoo wrote. “American consumers have a right to know where their information is coming from, and whether the public interest is being compromised over the airwaves designated to serve them."

RT just this week registered as a foreign agent under pressure from the Justice Department.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.