In an announcement made on the same day Facebook and Twitter “indefinitely” banned President Trump, the FCC reminded all broadcasters of their legal obligation to comply with relaying messages via the Emergency Alert System.
The Emergency Alert System is overseen by the federal government and allows the President to address the nation via all television and radio stations in the event of a national emergency. Broadcasters are required by federal law to cut into their programming and relay emergency messages, regardless of who the president is or whether they voted for him or not.
The advisory, which appeared on the official FCC website today titled ‘Enforcement Bureau Reminds EAS Participants of Compliance Obligations’ has raised eyebrows given that it was posted less than 24 hours after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC, prompting a National Guard response.
“The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (Commission or FCC) issues this Enforcement Advisory to remind broadcasters, cable television operators, wireless cable operators, wireline video service providers, satellite digital audio radio service providers, and direct broadcast satellite providers (EAS Participants) of their obligation to comply with the EAS rules, including ensuring that EAS alerts are accessible to persons with disabilities,” states the advisory.
Respondents to a Twitter thread about the EAS also noted that the system had been tested in both New York and Alabama earlier today. Whether the reminder had anything to do with President Trump being suspended from Twitter or banned “indefinitely” by Facebook isn’t known. However, it would be naive to think that the announcement doesn’t have something to do with yesterday’s events.