Eshoo Calls on FCC to Investigate Disclosure of Russian-Funded Radio Propaganda

September 17, 2019
Press Release

Congresswoman demands explicit identification of foreign programming in nation’s capital 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congresswomen Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) led a group of Members of Congress asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate Russian government sponsored propaganda aired on a Washington, D.C. radio station.

“The American people deserve to know when radio programming they hear on public airwaves is foreign government-funded propaganda. Yet today, a listener of WZHF 1390 AM in Washington, D.C. would have no idea that the station’s programming is funded by the Russian Federation,” Eshoo and her colleagues wrote. “We ask that the FCC investigate whether WZHF’s sponsorship identification sufficiently identifies the true identity of the sponsor of its broadcast programming.”

Under current FCC rules, radio stations must announce the true identity of sponsors to the public. WZHF in Washington, D.C. exclusively airs programming produced by a Russian state-sponsored propaganda outlet, Radio Sputnik. The Russian Federation pays to air the propaganda through a third party.

Despite the clear connection between WZHF and the Russian Federation, the station does not convey to audiences that the Russian government sponsors its programming. As a result, listeners of WZHF are unlikely to know they are listening to Russian government-funded propaganda. Eshoo and her colleagues are urging the FCC to investigate and ensure WZHF complies with transparency rules established to protect the public.

To read a copy of the letter, click HERE.

Congresswoman Eshoo is a strong advocate for transparency, having called on the FCC on several occasions to investigate Russian meddling in American media. She also reintroduced the Foreign Entities Reform Act which requires U.S. media outlets to disclose state-sponsored programming.