Federal Communications Law Journal

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Publication Citation

56 Federal Communications Law Journal 55 (2003)


Last year, the State of Wisconsin passed legislation which would require statechartered public broadcasting television networks to carry political advertising for candidates free of charge. In this article, Andrew Cotlar raises many concerns about the wisdom of such legislation and the impact this trend may have on public broadcasters throughout the nation. The author begins by analyzing the current position of the law on political access requirements, at both federal and state levels, and then argues that the public television stations should continue to be free to exercise substantial editorial discretion. The Article proceeds to critique the Wisconsin statute as preempted by existing federal law, and contrary to the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The author concludes that legislation like the Wisconsin statue is damaging as an infringement on the principles of public broadcasting, and dangerous if the principle and approach behind it are adopted by other states.