FCC: Complaints About Broadcast Journalism

As public trustees, broadcasters may not intentionally distort the news. Broadcasters are responsible for deciding what their stations present to the public. The FCC has stated publicly that “rigging or slanting the news is a most heinous act against the public interest.” The FCC does act to protect the public interest where it has received documented evidence of such rigging or slanting. This kind of evidence could include testimony, in writing or otherwise, from “insiders” or persons who have direct personal knowledge of an intentional falsification of the news. Of particular concern would be evidence about orders from station management to falsify the news. In the absence of such documented evidence, the FCC has stressed that it cannot intervene.

Filing a Complaint with the FCC

Complaints regarding news distortion, rigging, or slanting can also be filed with the FCC. There is no charge for filing a complaint. Complaints must contain documented evidence in support of the allegations. For example, it is not sufficient for a complaint to allege only that a broadcast station made a mistake in reporting a news event. The complaint must include documented evidence showing deliberate misrepresentation.

You can file your complaint using an on-line complaint form found at esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm. You can also file your complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Center by e-mailing fccinfo@fcc.gov; calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554.

What to Include in Your Complaint

The best way to provide all the information the FCC needs to process your complaint is to complete fully the on-line complaint form. When you open the on-line complaint form, you will be asked a series of questions that will take you to the particular section of the form you need to complete. If you do not use the on-line complaint form, your complaint, at a minimum, should indicate:

  • your name, address, email address, and phone number where you can be reached;

  • name and phone number of the company that you are complaining about and location (city and state) if the company is a cable or satellite operator;

  • station call sign (KDIU-FM or WZUE TV), radio station frequency (1020 or 88.5) or TV channel (13), and station location (city and state);

  • network, program name, and date and time of program if you are complaining about a particular program;

  • any additional details of your complaint, including time, date, and nature of the conduct or activity you are complaining about and identifying information for any companies, organizations, or individuals involved; and

  • documented evidence showing deliberate misrepresentation.

More Information @ FCC.gov

Electronic Comment Filing System

ECFS includes the following features.

  • Search for Filings: Search for and view public filings and Commission items. You can export, or generate a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed of your search results.
  • Search for Proceedings: New search screen to find a proceeding (Docket Number, Rulemaking Number, etc.).
  • Submit a Filing: The standard form for submitting filings to ECFS if you want to send Word, PDF, or Excel files. This form now includes the ability to submit your filing into multiple proceedings.
  • Submit a Filing (Express): A simpler form to submit brief comments.
  • Check Your Filing Status: Use your confirmation number to check whether the filing you made is available online.

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