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NAB Opposes Airing Russia-Sponsored Programming

LeGeyt urges “sound, moral judgment” in response to invasion of Ukraine

The National Association of Broadcasters today, Mar. 1, urged broadcasters to refrain from carrying and state-sponsored programming associated with the Russian government or its agents. The call came in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is a fierce defender of the First Amendment and the critical importance of the ability to freely express views, both popular and unpopular,” stated NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt. “While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, however, it does not prevent private actors from exercising sound, moral judgment.”

LeGeyt’s statement continued: “To that end, given the unprovoked aggression exhibited by Russia against the free and sovereign people of Ukraine, NAB calls on broadcasters to cease carrying any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government or its agents.”

[Related: “Russian Broadcasters Leave EBU”]

The statement ended noting that NAB knows that such programs are extremely limited on U.S. airwaves, but “we believe that our nation must stand fully united against misinformation and for freedom and democracy across the globe.”

The question of how a broadcaster can tell the source of any given programming is timely. The NAB and other broadcast organizations have sued the FCC, opposing a new rule that requires stations to determine the source of foreign-based content. The association has argued that the requirement puts undue burdens on radio and TV stations, that that the rule is unconstitutional and that the problem the FCC is trying to solve is a “phantom harm.”