Bill requiring media to identify owners is tabled

HELENA (AP) — A Montana legislative committee has tabled a bill that sought to require media outlets owned by out-of-state corporations to prominently identify their owners and headquarters on the front of their publications and on online content.

The House State Administration committee voted 18-2 Wednesday to table the bill. That means it is likely dead for the session, unless a vote is held to bring it back for consideration.

The Montana Newspaper Association and the Montana Broadcasters Association spoke against the bill Monday, citing First Amendment concerns.

Republican Rep. Joe Read said he introduced the bill, in part, after reading stories that a broadcast ownership group required local television stations to read statements or air certain content. He questioned whether newspaper ownership groups would someday require the same of local newspapers.

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