Brief Fact Summary. The Respondent, the Democratic National Committee (Respondent) and other public interest groups brought a suit, seeking declaration of their rights to purchase radio airtime for comment on public issues.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. This case stands for the proposition that radio stations are to be afforded the same freedom of the press that is given to newspapers in determining their own content.
The power of a privately owned newspaper to advance its own political, social, and economic views is bounded by only two factors: first, the acceptance of a sufficient number of readers--and hence advertisers--to assure financial success; and, second, the journalistic integrity of its editors and publishers.View Full Point of Law
Issue. This case presents the issue of whether a radio station can be compelled to sell airtime to public interest organizations for dissemination of their viewpoints, on the premise that airtime is scarce and to be shared.
The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) held that it would be a violation of the First Amendment constitutional rights of broadcasting companies to require them to disseminate viewpoints other than their own. Thus, the Respondents claims for equal airtime were denied in favor of the Petitioner, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (Petitioner) freedom of the press.
Dissent. Justice William Brennan (J. Brennan) dissented, noting that, in light of the unique nature of radio airwaves, the First Amendment constitutional freedom of expression rights of the public should also be taken into consideration.
Concurrence. Justice William Douglass (J. Douglass) concurred, concluding that TV and radio time should be afforded the same protection as the pages of a newspaper.
Discussion. When considering the First Amendment freedom of the press, consider that this case had the effect of extending that freedom to alternative forms of media, not initially considered by the Framers.