Chapter 10 - Rules and Regulations
Broadcasting and cable regulation is based on two rationales: The scarcity theory and the pervasive presence theory.
The regulation of the electronic media is influenced by the FCC, Congress, the courts, the White House, industry lobbyists, the public, state and local governments, and the operation of the marketplace.
The Communications Act of 1934 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 provide the groundwork for the regulation of the electronic media. The FCC implements these acts by assigning and renewing licenses. Although it does not license cable systems, the FCC does have some regulatory power over the industry. Section 315 of the Communications Act provides equal opportunities for political candidates on television stations.
Copyright laws are important in broadcasting and cable. Music licensing is the method by which performers and composers are paid for the use of their work by broadcasters and cable operators. Cable systems also pay a fee for transmitting the signals of distant
stations into their local markets. VCR owners can tape a program off the air for their own personal use without violating copyright laws.
Federal laws pertaining to obscenity apply to broadcasting and cable. In addition, the FCC has drafted special provisions that deal with indecent content on radio and TV.
Cablecasters and broadcasters are bound by the regulations set down by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Several legal areas touch upon the practice of broadcast journalism: defamation, invasion of privacy, protecting sources, and using cameras and microphones in the courtroom.
Advertising qualifies for protection as free speech under the First Amendment. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main agency that regulates false and deceptive advertising. Drug advertising is regulated by the FDA.