DOI link for Equal-Time Rule
Equal-Time Rule book
The "equal-time rule," or the equal-opportunity provision, of the 1935 Communications Act was designed to open the airwaves to all qualified candidates for public office. The basic principle of the rule is that broadcasters who either give or sell airtime to one candidate must do the same for that candidate's opponent. The government justifies the equal-time control on the broadcast industry based on scarcity in the number of broadcast frequencies that exist, and the fact that those airwaves are a public resource. In preventing a potentially biased broadcast media from neglecting the public interest and monopolizing a public resource, the government steps in for the public good. In the 1960s, the Federal Communication Commission expanded the equal-time rule to include nationally broadcast speeches, such as the presidential state-of-the-union address.