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Groups Claim More Unidentified VNRs

Free Press and the Center For Media & Democracy (CMD) say they have found 46 more stations airing unidentified video news releases.

The groups last spring released a much-publicized accounting of 77 stations they identified as airing unidentified corporate video news releases--it became Daily Show fodder and prompted the FCC to gather info from the targeted stations.

Depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, stations may or may not have to identify the source of video news releases that do not deal with controversial or political topics, though the center argues that the act of not identifying them makes controversial.

The FCC rules say that some outside material supplied for free or even for nominal payment does not have to be identified, but it is unclear how much protection that provides unidentified VNRs. The FCC in an April 2005 advisory to stations said that they should, as a general practice, identify the source of VNRs.
The Radio-Television News Directors Association has advised stations to


their VNR's, and say that most do.

Scheduled to be on hand for a Tuesday teleconference releasing the study will be Democratic FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, the latter which has staked out deceptive advertising and programming as a key concern.

A CMD spokesman said the group planned to file a complaint against the stations Tuesday.