A federal appeals court in California has overturned a federal law that prevented public television and radio from airing political spots. It was a 2-1 decision at the U.S. Court of Appeals, opening the door for public TV and radio and radio to grab some of what may be billions of dollars in political advertising in the coming months, and beyond.
The decision stemmed from an appeal from public broadcaster KMTP San Francisco, which dubs itself "Multicultural Television." The panel of judges deemed it unconstitutional to prevent stations from accepting political ads.
"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.
Commercial stations rely heavily on candidate and issues spending for their lifeblood, particularly during major election years. They may have to share it with the public broadcasters now.
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