Posted October 13th, 2010 by seanm
Eureka, CA - Access Humboldt’s community media channels provide a free platform for political speech in the community.
While the broadcast TV rules for “equal time” and the “Fairness Doctrine” do not apply to community access channels, there is a clear standard: “Equal opportunity” is afforded for all views to be expressed. On the community channels of Access Humboldt, you will see programs presented by local residents, including programs that promote a candidate or a particular cause.
Political speech regarding candidates for public office and ballot measures are among the most protected forms of speech under US law. The rules of engagement for Access Humboldt are posted online at http://accesshumboldt.net/site/programming-policy. Local policies about Political Programming include:
“… Candidates for local office may produce programs or appear on other programs, in the same manner as any other member of the community. No paid advertising will be accepted on behalf of any candidate for public office or political parties, including promoting and or opposing ballot issues by supporting groups or lobbying organizations.
Political candidates and advocates for ballot issues are welcome to utilize the services on the same terms as other access users. AH maintains the right to limit the length and frequency of political programming in the same manner that it imposes these limits on other programs…”
Commercial speech, including solicitation of funds for non-profit purposes, is regulated and generally prohibited. So, a message calling for a vote is fully protected, while selling products or making a plea for contributions is not.
Under the heading “Producers’ and Presenters’ Rights” is an important statement:
”Producers and presenters are not obligated to show or sponsor shows representing any viewpoint other than their own. Community residents with different and opposing viewpoints are encouraged to use the public access channel to express their own ideas.”
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“Local Voices Through Community Media” is the mission of Access Humboldt, which serves as a regional provider of broadband media access for public, education and government purposes for the North Coast (aka Redwood Coast) of California, USA. More information is online at http://accesshumboldt.net.
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