By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 14, 2005; Page A02
Television broadcasters must disclose to viewers the origin of video news releases produced by the government or corporations when the material runs on the public airwaves, the Federal Communications Commission said yesterday.
The FCC's ruling comes as video news releases produced by the Bush administration and aired as part of local television news reports have come under attack from critics who call them unlabeled Republican propaganda.
Some members of Congress say greater disclosure is needed. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) plan to introduce an amendment to a junk fax bill today that would require government agencies -- such as the Department of Health and Human Services, whose video news release on Medicare and Medicaid was deemed propaganda by the Government Accountability Office last year -- to tell viewers that a clip was produced and paid for by the U.S. government.