If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station: Provided, That such licensee shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast under the provisions of this section. No obligation is imposed under this subsection upon any licensee to allow the use of its station by any such candidate. Appearance by a legally qualified candidate on any—
(1) bona fide newscast,
(2) bona fide news interview,
(3) bona fide news documentary (if the appearance of the candidate is incidental to the presentation of the subject or subjects covered by the news documentary), or
(4) on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events (including but not limited to political conventions and activities incidental thereto),
shall not be deemed to be use of a broadcasting station within the meaning of this subsection. Nothing in the foregoing sentence shall be construed as relieving broadcasters, in connection with the presentation of newscasts, news interviews, news documentaries, and on-the-spot coverage of news events, from the obligation imposed upon them under this chapter to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.
The charges made for the use of any broadcasting station by any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office in connection with his campaign for nomination for election, or election, to such office shall not exceed—
(A) subject to paragraph (2), during the forty-five days preceding the date of a primary or primary runoff election and during the sixty days preceding the date of a general or special election in which such person is a candidate, the lowest unit charge of the station for the same class and amount of time for the same period; and
(B) at any other time, the charges made for comparable use of such station by other users thereof.
In the case of a candidate for Federal office, such candidate shall not be entitled to receive the rate under paragraph (1)(A) for the use of any broadcasting station unless the candidate provides written certification to the broadcast station that the candidate (and any authorized committee of the candidate) shall not make any direct reference to another candidate for the same office, in any broadcast using the rights and conditions of access under this chapter, unless such reference meets the requirements of subparagraph (C) or (D).
If a candidate for Federal office (or any authorized committee of such candidate) makes a reference described in subparagraph (A) in any broadcast that does not meet the requirements of subparagraph (C) or (D), such candidate shall not be entitled to receive the rate under paragraph (1)(A) for such broadcast or any other broadcast during any portion of the 45-day and 60-day periods described in paragraph (1)(A), that occur on or after the date of such broadcast, for election to such office.
A candidate meets the requirements of this subparagraph if, in the case of a television broadcast, at the end of such broadcast there appears simultaneously, for a period no less than 4 seconds—
(i) a clearly identifiable photographic or similar image of the candidate; and
(ii) a clearly readable printed statement, identifying the candidate and stating that the candidate has approved the broadcast and that the candidate's authorized committee paid for the broadcast.
A candidate meets the requirements of this subparagraph if, in the case of a radio broadcast, the broadcast includes a personal audio statement by the candidate that identifies the candidate, the office the candidate is seeking, and indicates that the candidate has approved the broadcast.
Certifications under this section shall be provided and certified as accurate by the candidate (or any authorized committee of the candidate) at the time of purchase.
For purposes of this paragraph, the terms "authorized committee" and "Federal office" have the meanings given such terms by section 431 of title 2.
For purposes of this section—
(1) the term "broadcasting station" includes a community antenna television system; and
(2) the terms "licensee" and "station licensee" when used with respect to a community antenna television system mean the operator of such system.
The Commission shall prescribe appropriate rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this section.
A licensee shall maintain, and make available for public inspection, a complete record of a request to purchase broadcast time that—
(A) is made by or on behalf of a legally qualified candidate for public office; or
(B) communicates a message relating to any political matter of national importance, including—
(i) a legally qualified candidate;
(ii) any election to Federal office; or
(iii) a national legislative issue of public importance.
A record maintained under paragraph (1) shall contain information regarding—
(A) whether the request to purchase broadcast time is accepted or rejected by the licensee;
(B) the rate charged for the broadcast time;
(C) the date and time on which the communication is aired;
(D) the class of time that is purchased;
(E) the name of the candidate to which the communication refers and the office to which the candidate is seeking election, the election to which the communication refers, or the issue to which the communication refers (as applicable);
(F) in the case of a request made by, or on behalf of, a candidate, the name of the candidate, the authorized committee of the candidate, and the treasurer of such committee; and
(G) in the case of any other request, the name of the person purchasing the time, the name, address, and phone number of a contact person for such person, and a list of the chief executive officers or members of the executive committee or of the board of directors of such person.
The information required under this subsection shall be placed in a political file as soon as possible and shall be retained by the licensee for a period of not less than 2 years.
(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title III, §315, 48 Stat. 1088; July 16, 1952, ch. 879, §11, 66 Stat. 717; Pub. L. 86–274, §1, Sept. 14, 1959, 73 Stat. 557; Pub. L. 92–225, title I, §§103(a)(1), (2)(B), 104(c), Feb. 7, 1972, 86 Stat. 4, 7; Pub. L. 93–443, title IV, §402, Oct. 15, 1974, 88 Stat. 1291; Pub. L. 107–155, title III, §305(a), (b), title V, §504, Mar. 27, 2002, 116 Stat. 100, 101, 115.)
Last modified: October 26, 2015