ERIC Number: ED201008
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
A Re-Examination of Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934.
Anapol, Malthon M.
A review of national presidential election campaigns since the passage of Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934 indicates the inadequacies of that section and the need for its revision. Section 315 stipulates equal access to the mass media for all legally qualified political candidates. Basically, the difficulty with Section 315 is that it allows bigger, richer, better organized policical parties or candidates to manipulate the media, and that it creates confusion when minority and splinter candidates seek equal time. Based on this analysis, a proposal has been made to alter Section 315, defining "legally qualified candidate" as one who has been nominated by a party that received at least 2% of the total votes cast in the previous election for that office. The proposal would require new parties and independent candidates to obtain signatures from a number of registered voters equal to 2% of the votes cast for that office in the preceding primary election. The second part of this proposed revision of Section 315 would entail a series of debates between presidential candidates during each presidential election year. Carried on television and radio by the national networks, the time for the debates would be governed by a nonpartisan committee. The time for the debates would be donated by the broadcasters and offered to all "legally qualified candidates" who met the proposed 2% rule. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Communications Act 1934; Equal Time Doctrine; Presidential Campaigns; Presidential Candidates
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Communication Association (Pittsburgh, PA, April 24-26, 1981).