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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Turner Broadcasting
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
Location: FCC
Facts of the Case 

In 1992, Congress passed the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992. Sections 4 and 5 of this Act required cable systems to allocate a percentage of their channels to local public broadcast stations, the must-carry rules. The rules limit the cannels available for exclusive control by cable programmers and increase competition for the remaining channels.


Are the must-carry rules content-based and thus a violation of the cable companies' First Amendment right to free speech?

Decision: 5 votes for Turner Broadcasting, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 47 U.S.C. 534

No. The Court held that the must-carry provisions were content neutral, thus not a violation of the First Amendment. The rules were not determined by the programming content, but by broadcast method. The rules promote fair competition in television programming. Congress recognized that the public television stations had an intrinsic value to the American public and were in economic peril of disappearing due to the cable television industry's monopoly. The rules do not force the cable companies to alter their message.

Cite this Page
TURNER BROADCASTING v. FCC. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_93_44>.
TURNER BROADCASTING v. FCC, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_93_44 (last visited August 26, 2015).
"TURNER BROADCASTING v. FCC," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_93_44.