SCOTUS: Cable Access TV Can Restrict Access

WASHINGTON—In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a cable access TV station has the right to restrict programming and does not represent local government as a “state actor.”

In “Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck,” two producers from the New York City cable access TV station claimed that the station violated their First Amendment rights when they restricted access to the station after it aired their program, a show the station afterwards termed “unfavorable.”

The producers argued that the move violated their right to free speech, claiming that, even though the station was a private entity, it was representing the local government. Speaking for the majority, Justice Kavanaugh ruled that public access stations are not, in fact “state actors” under existing precedent and merely by the fact that it allows the public to express their opinions on the air. has the story

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.