Originally published: April 12, 2012
Last updated: April 19, 2012 - 3:10pm
A divided US appeals court struck down a federal ban on political advertising on public television and radio stations, a decision that could open the public airwaves to a heavy dose of campaign ads leading up to the November elections. By a 2-1 vote, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the Federal Communications Commission violated the First Amendment's free speech clause by blocking public broadcasters from running political and public issue ads.
The court said the ban was over broad and that lifting it would not threaten to undermine the educational nature of public broadcast stations. It upheld a ban on ads for goods and services on behalf of for-profit companies. "Public issue and political speech in particular is at the very core of the First Amendment's protection," Judge Carlos Bea wrote in the main opinion. "Public issue and political advertisements pose no threat of 'commercialization,'" he continued. "By definition, such advertisements do not encourage viewers to buy commercial goods and services. A ban on such advertising therefore cannot be narrowly tailored to serve the interest of preventing the 'commercialization' of broadcasting." Minority Television Project, a non-profit that runs KMPT-TV in San Francisco, had challenged the FCC after being fined $10,000 for running paid ads from companies such as insurer State Farm and General Motors Co's Chevrolet division.
- Free Press Urges Public Broadcasters to Reject Attack Ads
- Political ads and Big Bird too
- DC Court Rules Campaign Contribution Limits On Individuals is Unconstitutional
- Who Approved These Ads?
- Outside Political Groups Swamp Montana's Media Market
- NAB Asks Court to Delay Broadcaster Political File Appeal
- The First Amendment, Upside Down
- Supreme Court overturns indecency fines against Fox, ABC
- Will the 9th Circuit Overrule Holding That Noncommercial Broadcasters Can Run Political Ads?
- Public Stations May Get OK for Political Ads
- Citizens United and the Urgent Case For an Open Internet
- Put An End To Paid Political Advertising
- Groups Oppose NAB Court Petition to Delay Political File Rules
- Sizing Up Stations' Campaign Ad Windfall
- PIPAC: NAB Online Political File Stay Should Be Denied