The Coalition to Save Local Media released the following statement following the Reuters report today that the Federal Communications Commission will fine Sinclair Broadcasting $13.3 million for failing to properly disclose that paid programming on local television was in reality sponsored by an advertiser:
“The latest fine the FCC plans to levy against Sinclair just adds to the long list of evidence that the FCC-licensed broadcaster will not act in the public interest if its proposed merger with Tribune is approved. Under the FCC’s public interest standard, Sinclair is obligated to prove to the FCC that this merger will yield real benefits to consumers — and that those benefits will outweigh the harms. Thus far in the process, Sinclair has failed to prove its proposed Tribune merger is in the public interest as well as failed to answer serious questions raised by many parties including media organizations, distributors, independent networks, public interest groups, labor, and four state Attorneys General, including the Attorney General from both Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media’s home states.
“Today’s report should prompt more scrutiny by the FCC, Justice Department, and other parties on this proposed mega-merger. This merger should be denied.”