The Federal Communications Commission is investigating 77 television stations across the country for allegedly having aired video news releases without disclosing their sources.
The investigation, reported Thursday by Bloomberg News, was confirmed by an agency official.
“We are investigating allegations of violations of our sponsorship identification rules,” the official told Daily Variety.
VNRs are essentially promotions in the form of announcements or news reports and the FCC requires disclosure of any and all interests behind them.
The Bloomberg report identified 77 stations that allegedly aired corporate PR as news over a 10-month period without ever disclosing the sponsors.
“We commend the FCC for taking the issue of fake news seriously,” said Diane Farsetta, senior research for the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit watchdog group, in a statement. “With the FCC’s enforcement bureau getting involved, hopefully TV stations will finally practice full disclosure.”