U.S. court upholds ban on political, other ads on public TV

Mon Dec 2, 2013 11:10am EST

Dec 2 (Reuters) - A divided federal appeals court on Monday upheld as constitutional a U.S. ban on political advertising on public television and radio stations.

By an 8-3 vote, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the U.S. Congress was justified in adopting a law that prohibited public stations from transmitting paid advertisements on behalf of for-profit entities, issues of public importance or interest and political candidates.

"Congress's determination that all three kinds of advertising posed a significant threat to public programming is supported by substantial evidence," Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote for the majority.

Two judges on the panel would have struck down the law, while a third would have struck down part of it.

Minority Television Project Inc, a California non-profit, had challenged the law after the Federal Communications Communication fined it $10,000 for running paid ads from companies such as Ford Motor Corp, General Motors Co and Korean Air Lines Co.

The case is Minority Television Project Inc v. Federal Communications Commission et al, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 09-17311.