47 CFR 76.205 - Origination cablecasts by legally qualified candidates for public office; equal opportunities.
(a)General requirements. No cable television system is required to permit the use of its facilities by any legally qualified candidate for public office, but if any system shall permit any such candidate to use its facilities, it shall afford equal opportunities to all other candidates for that office to use such facilities. Such system shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast by any such candidate. Appearance by a legally qualified candidate on any:
(1) Bona fide newscast;
(2) Bona fide news interview;
(3) Bona fide news documentary (if the appearance of the candidate is incidental to the presentation of the subject or subjects covered by the news documentary); or
(4) On-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events (including, but not limited to political conventions and activities incidental thereto) shall not be deemed to be use of a system. (section 315(a) of the Communications Act.)
(b)Uses. As used in this section and § 76.206, the term “use” means a candidate appearance (including by voice or picture) that is not exempt under paragraphs 76.205 (a)(1) through (a)(4) of this section.
(c)Timing of request. A request for equal opportunities must be submitted to the system within 1 week of the day on which the first prior use giving rise to the right of equal opportunities occurred: Provided, however, That where the person was not a candidate at the time of such first prior use, he or she shall submit his or her request within 1 week of the first subsequent use after he or she has become a legally qualified candidate for the office in question.
(d)Burden of proof. A candidate requesting equal opportunities of the system or complaining of noncompliance to the Commission shall have the burden of proving that he or she and his or her opponent are legally qualified candidates for the same public office.
(e)Discrimination between candidates. In making time available to candidates for public office, no system shall make any discrimination between candidates in practices, regulations, facilities, or services for or in connection with the service rendered pursuant to this part, or make or give any preference to any candidate for public office or subject any such candidate to any prejudice or disadvantage; nor shall any system make any contract or other agreement which shall have the effect of permitting any legally qualified candidate for any public office to cablecast to the exclusion of other legally qualified candidates for the same public office.