No fooling: Remember the FCC’s ‘hoax rule’ April

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

If you’re planning any April Fools’ gags for Monday — remember there are some laws that limit the types of pranks that can be aired.

  • “The FCC prohibits broadcasting false information about a crime or a catastrophe if the broadcaster knows the information is false and will cause substantial ‘public harm’ if aired,” reads the FCC website.
  • FCC rules specifically say that “the public harm: must begin immediately and cause direct and actual damage to property or the health or safety of the general public; or divert law enforcement or public health and safety authorities from their duties.”
  • The site does say that broadcasters may air disclaimers that clearly characterize programming as fiction to avoid violating FCC rules about public harm.
  • The FCC provides a “consumer guide” to the rule as well.