• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court upheld the fairness doctrine that required television and radio broadcasters to provide reply time for those criticized on air.

A radio station broadcast an attack against Fred Cook, who had written a book criticizing Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, but the station refused to allow Cook time to respond. Justice Byron R. WhiteWhite, Byron RRed Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission[Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission] wrote the unanimous 8-0 opinion (Justice William O. Douglas did not participate) upholding the fairness doctrine of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The Court held that the FCC could require broadcast licensees to allow time for a reply from those who had been criticized on broadcasts from that station. The Court found that the First Amendment had to be limited by the reality that there are a finite number of broadcast frequencies (unlike the unlimited channels of communication available through newspapers). In such circumstances, the interests of the viewing and listening public take precedence over the interests of the station owners and licensees. An attempt to codify the rule by congressional enactment was vetoed by President Ronald Reagan, and the FCC repealed the rule in 1987.Reply, right ofSpeech, freedom of;Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission[Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission]Reply, right of

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First Amendment

Speech and press, freedom of

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