SCOTUS: Cable Access TV Can Restrict Access

Court rules PEG TV stations "not state actors."
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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.”

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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.

Jurist.org has the story