Ruling opens PBS to campaign ads

April 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, April 13 (UPI) -- A U.S. appeals court tossed a ban on political ads on public airwaves, clearing the way for campaign ads, Cookie Monster and classical music to share space.

Observers note the ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday could give candidates and third-party interest groups another venue for reaching voters in what promises to be an expensive general election campaign as far as advertising is concerned, The Hill reported.

Public radio and television broadcasters have been barred from airing advertisements beyond sponsor acknowledgment.

In the 2-1 ruling against the ad ban, Circuit Judge Carlos Bea cited the First Amendment, writing that the law "burdens speech on issues of public importance and political speech."

The three-judge panel left intact a portion of the law prohibiting advertising for commercial goods and services. Bea said the court was trying to exercise restraint by invalidating as little of the statute as possible.

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