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Arkansas Educational Television Commission v. Forbes


This case is about a political candidate's First Amendment rights of free speech during media coverage of the electoral process. In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a public television station can exercise editorial prerogative to exclude from debate a qualified fringe candidate whom the station believed could not win the election. Broadcasters, journalists, educators, and civil libertarians followed this case closely for at issue was also whether a public radio station always constitutes a public forum, in which there are very few controls on who may speak, or remains part of the free press and is therefore subject to journalistic standards alone. This troublesome question of how to balance First Amendment rights when the government--in the form of a state-affiliated broadcast network--is the speaker led the court to develop guidelines for a "public forum doctrine" in its decision.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentArkansas Educational Television Commission v. Forbes - Significance, The Events, Editorial Discretion, Or Government Censorship?, The Importance Of Public And Nonpublic Forums