Thursday, April 26, 2007

Finally, a rational free speech decision

A follow-up to an item we noted about 19 months ago. The Washington Supreme Court today announced unanimously that two radio talkshow hosts did not have to disclose their on-air commentary against a proposed Washington gas tax hike as an "in-kind contribution" to the No New Gas Tax (NNGT) campaign.

Prosecutors in local governments in Washington initiated proceedings against the radio station claiming that the discussion of the gas tax issue and the radio hosts' on-air support for the group NNGT that led the fight against the increase amounting to campaign contributions due to the value of the air time devoted to the subject. This rationale would apply to every talk show host in America who had an opinion on a political issue in an election season. Considering that most radio political talk shows are conservative, the prosecutors simply sought to impose a new version of the Fairness Doctrine, as this blogger noted.

Thankfully the Washington Supreme Court got it right.

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