Senate committee OKs a bill requiring disclosure in VNRs

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan Senate committee has approved a measure that would require disclosure of government sponsorship for prepackaged news stories.

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan Senate committee has approved a measure that would require disclosure of government sponsorship for prepackaged news stories.

The Truth in Broadcasting Act, first introduced in April by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), seeks to make permanent the similar Byrd Amendment, which expired on September 30.

One significant change from the original bill is that it no longer requires constant video notification of the government's involvement. Instead, it requires at least an audible disclaimer that it is a production of the US government.

Doug Simon, CEO of DS Simon, said he was pleased the bill had been revised. He was part of an industry panel that testified at the bill's hearing in May.

Shoba Purushothaman, CEO of The News Market, said the decision is positive for the government and the PR industry.

"This whole movement for transparency is good," she said. "It mirrors what is happening in all other facets of society."

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