Federal Law Allows Graphic Campaign Ad


Radio and television stations operate under federal license,subject to conditions imposed by Congress and the Federal Communications Commission.Stations must provide reasonable access to their airtime by candidates forfederal office,1 and that stations have no power of censorship overany material broadcast by a candidate.2 The stationbroadcasting the material cannot require the candidate to edit or change thematerial for broadcast and cannot restrict the time of day when politicaladvertising may be aired.

Even though material broadcast by a candidate may belibelous, inflammatory, or offensive to some viewers, the United States SupremeCourt has ruled that permitting a station to censor such material wouldundermine the law. 3


1 47 U.S.C. §312(a)(7).

2 47 U.S.C. §315(a).

3 Farmers Educ. & Coop. Union of Am. v.WDAY, Inc., 360 U.S. 525 (1959).