PROPOSAL TO JOIN THE FREE AIR TIME CAMPAIGN
Roy T. Cannon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 302-738-9963
Three weeks+ discussion: June 24-Philly convention Consensus seeking at the convention (with limited or no discussion)
The GPDE and GPTX propose the USGP to join the Free Airtime Campaign as coalition members, and suggest state parties to contact the campaign’s local partners (http://freeairtime.org/partners), and for locals and individual greens to sign the campaign’s declaration:
“I believe in a fair and open democratic process that allows for a free exchange of ideas among a wide range of candidates, regardless of their wealth. To help our democracy attain this ideal, I support proposals to require that broadcasters, as a condition of receiving their free licenses to use our public airwaves, provide free air time for candidates immediately before all elections.”
Different state partners are organizing different events; for example, Texans for Public Justice is putting together a series of fora in TX.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
While the soft money ban that was recently passed by Congress and signed by President Bush was designed to address the supply of political money, it will do nothing to restrain the demand. The price of winning a seat in the House of Representatives will soon eclipse $1 million and the biggest cost in these campaigns is television advertising. And, unfortunately, these costs just keep going up. In 2000, television stations took in an estimated $1 billion from political spots, quadruple their haul from the 1980 campaign, even after adjusting for inflation. On June 19, Senator McCain unveiled new legislation that would provide free broadcast air time for political candidates and parties
As a condition for broadcasters to obtain their free licenses, a system of Free Air Time should:
- Require all television and radio stations to air at least two hours a week (one of which would be in or near prime time) of candidates issue discussion in the month before an election. The stations would choose the formats they preferred – debates, interviews, town hall meetings, mini-debates, etc.
- Provide qualifying candidates and parties with vouchers to run a limited number of free ads on television and radio. The vouchers would be financed by a small spectrum usage fee on the broadcast industry.