Public Comment

From:      <>
To:        NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(piac)
Date:      12/1/97 12:58pm
Subject:   Public comment

I have recently learned that the government is considering regulations
related to television usage and political advertisements.  I would like
to encourage the government to require broadcaters to provide free
television access to candidates and ballot measure opponents and
proponents who have met their local requirements for being placed on a

At the time our government was created, the political system was largely
that of the town hall.  In such a system, educated participation was
easily and freely available to all.  With the expansion of our country,
both physically and demographically, such a system has become
impossible.  The only means of achieving access to the majority of
citizens, an imperitive part of the political system, is through the
broadcast media.  However, unlike the access to the podium at the town
hall meeting, access to the media can be prohibitively expensive.  This
cost can result in efforts to "buy" elections by massive financing of
television advertising by the candidate or position with greater
resources.  This is contrary to democracy and the tenents upon which our
government is based.

The only way to insure equal access to government is to insure that the
means of access are provided equally and freely to all who qualify.  To
do so, it is imperitive that the government require broadcasters to
provide free political access, and to prohibit the sale of political
advertising time.  Although broadcasters may argue this costs them
money, it is a small exchange for their right to access government
controlled airways.

Money should not control politics.  Free discourse and public opinion
should.  However, this is not possible with the current advertising
structure which controls the only true means for access to government --
the broadcast media.  The media should be required to honor their public
duty and to provide equal time free access and no paid access to
political causes.

Brian K. Ruess
3676 SE Rural St
Portland, Oregon 97202