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FCC Sets Deadline for Foreign-Owned Media Outlet Reports

The FCC has set April 11 as the deadline for submitting data for its next report on U.S.-based, foreign-owned media outlets.

The Defense Authorization Act of 2019 requires all such outlets to submit a report to the commission at least every six months with the name of the media outlet and a description of the relationship of said outlet to any foreign principal owner as well as the legal structure of the relationship of that principal to the outlet and any funding it receives.

The first such reports were submitted Oct. 11.

By "foreign-owned," the FCC means "an agent of a foreign principal for
purposes of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1918," and by "media outlet," it means both producers and distributors of video programming to MVPDs.

The requirement does not apply to "bona fide" foreign news organizations, but it does apply to RT, formerly Russian Television, which had to register as a foreign agent under pressure from the Justice Department.

The requirement was enacted in the John S. McCain Defense Authorization Act and is meant to better identify potential foreign influences on the media, an issue that was in the spotlight because of Russian election meddling.

RT was identified as a purveyor of Russian propaganda in a now-famous dossier on potential Russian influence on the election of President Donald Trump.

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.