9th Circuit Court Upholds FCC Political Ad Ban On Public Radio, TV
December 2, 2013 at 6:39 PM (PT)
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the FCC ban on political advertising on noncommercial public radio and TV stations. The 11 member panel overturned by a 9-2 vote a three-judge panel's ruling in MINORITY TELEVISION PROJECT v. FCC last year that allowed the political ads on public stations.
The plaintiff, which operates noncommercial KMTP-TV/SAN FRANCISCO, had sought to have the ban thrown out as a violation of the licensee's First Amendment rights in a challenge to a $10,000 fine levied against it by the Commission. But Judge M. MARGARET MCKEOWN, writing the majority opinion, said that the government has an interest in "preserv(ing) the essence of public broadcast programming." She rejected the argument that the CITIZENS UNITED case applied in this case, saying that the case was "not about broadcast regulation" but about corporate political speech.