Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

Miss ANTHONY. Well, I do feel hurried, but I appreciate your difficulties with all the witnesses you have on the last day.

The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Mr. Pirincin. You have a brief that you desire to file, Mr. Pirincin?

STATEMENT OF JOSEPH PIRINCIN, REPRESENTING THE SOCIALIST

LABOR PARTY OF AMERICA, NEW YORK, N. Y. Mr. PIRINCIN. Yes, sir, that has been filed, and has been made available to the press.

The CHAIRMAN. I think we can give you not in excess of 10 minutes for an oral statement,

Mr. PIRINCIN. My name is Joseph Pirincin, and I represent the Socialist Labor Party of America. Our formal statement has already been submitted.

I would first like to comment on section 315 (c) of the bill. I would like to quote first the definition of a “legally qualified candidate." Section 3.422 of the Commission's rules, adopted pursuant to the provisions set forth at the top of page 3 of our brief, defines a “legally qualified candidate" as follows:

A "legally qualified candidate” means any person who has publicly announced that he is a candidate for nomination by a convention of a political party, or for nomination or election in a primary, special, or general election, municipal, county, State or National, and who meets the qualifications prescribed by the applicable laws to hold the office for which he is a candidate so that he may be voted for by the electorate directly or by means of delegates or electors, and who (a) has qualified for a place on the ballot, or (b) is eligible under the applicable law to be voted for by sticker, by writing in his name on the ballot, or by other method, and (1) has been duly nominated by a political party, which is commonly known and regarded as such, or (2) makes a substantial showing that he is a bona fide candidate for nomination or office, as the case

may be.

The proposed section 315 would completely nullify that, and from experience, the experience of an organization of 57 years' standing, an organization which has campaigned every day in the year during those years, election or no, keeping in mind the excessive signature requirements in many States, such as New York, within its requirements for signatures from every single county in the State, where in the last election we were kept off by an interpretation as to whether a “three" was a “five” or a "five” was a "three” as well as California, Ohio, and Illinois, it is clear that if this provision of the bill is enacted in these States and under those rules, no candidate of the Socialist Labor Party, duly nominated by the convention, duly supported by the people whose organization he represents, would be able to obtain time as a candidate for public office, because his name would not appear on the ballot.

There is no relief provided as to the discussion of public and political questions, such questions, for example, as the one recently discussed, the Taft-Hartley bill. Whether or not there would be any relief as to that is a question.

The fact is that the adoption of that provision might well have the result that candidates who are nominated but failed to qualify in States with prohibitive ballot requirements, would not be able to obtain radio time.

The Socialist Labor Party wants to express its opposition also to that portion of the bill providing that no licensee or group shall have radio service to more than 25 percent of the population.

We believe that the very likely working of the enactment of such a provision would be that radio would be cartelized; that within that there is possibility of the Nation being divided into four sections of 25 percent each, and that anyone desiring national coverage, instead of going to a single network, might and conceivably could be, compelled to engage four networks.

The Socialist Labor Party is in favor of the new provisions defining censorship by the Commission or by the licensees, which is a portion of the section on public and political questions, specifically the proposed section 330. And when we speak of censorship, we speak from experience.

We are particularly in favor of a very clear definition of what can be censored: The advocacy of the overthrow of the Government by force and violence.

Beng an organization that does advocate the abolition of the present form of government of the United States by legal and constitutional means, and having so advocted for 57 years, we have had repeated experience from coast to coast with radio stations, where the perfectly legal proposition of emphasizing article V of the Constitution of the United States, and the spirit of the Declaration of Independence was interpreted as unbroadcastable material because it proposed that the present form of government of the United States be changed.

Therefore, the Socialist Labor Party views favorably the proposal in bill S. 1333.

Finally, the Socialist Labor Party proposes for the serious consideration of this committee that the portion of the proposed section 330, on page 24 of the printed bill, beginning with line 7, be amplified, following the word "questions, and that the following be added: “Including the views of each political party of record.”

The proposal in the bill that political and public questions be discussed in somewhat the manner in which political campaigns are conducted on the radio today is desirable, but in the discussion of the Taft-Hartley bill, the Socialist Labor Party has had this experience:

All networks were approached. One of them said, “We have allotted 30 periods for the discussion of the Taft-Hartley bill. All views on this bill have been heard.” That was not the case.

The Socialist Labor Party is a political party of record. Thirty periods on sustaining programs had been allotted for the discussion, and yet the distinct views, not previously expressed by any group or organization, which were held by the Socialist Labor Party, were not permitted on the air, because of the fact that there was no clear inter pretation.

It is hoped that the proposed two new sections contained in S. 1333 will be adopted.

I would like to conclude by reemphasizing that this committee seri. ously consider the effects of the provision requiring that candidates for public office will not be granted equal time unless they appear on the ballot. It will be a death blow to minority parties that face restrictive ballot requirements in six of the most important States in the · United States.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. PIRICIN. Thank you, sir.
(Mr. Piricin's prepared statement is as follows:)

*

*

STATEMENT OF ARNOLD PETERSEN, NATIONAL SECRETARY, SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY OF

AMERICA, NEW YORK, N. Y. The Socialist Labor Party of America (organized in 1876, and reorganized on its present basis in 1890) is deeply concerned about some of the provisions in the bill (S. 1333) designed further to amend the Communications Act of 1934, provisions, which, if incorporated in the Communications Act, would adversely affect our constitutional right of free speech through the powerful medium of radio broadcasting.

The Socialist Labor Party is opposed to that portion of proposed section 333 (p. 30 of the printed bill) that provides that no network would be licensed to provide primary broadcast service "for more than 25 percent of the population of the continental United States as determined in the last preceding decennial census.” Such a limitation would impose an unnecessary hardship on broadcasters with limited financial means. It would make it necessary for an organization such as the Socialist Labor Party to purchase time on as many as four networks to obtain national coverage. If it is the intent of the provision to prevent monopoly, the practical working out of it, if adopted, might very well be the establishment of a far more thorough monopoly than exists today, by dividing the Nation into four parts, with a single network having what could very well be a broadcasting monopoly in each. If such arbitrary restrictions can be applied to radio, what will there be to prevent the application of similar restrictions to newspapers? The provision is, in our opinion, dangerous in the extreme; it is not in harmony with the constitutional guaranty of free speech, and it is potentially totalitarian in that it sets up governmental controls over the dissemination of ideas by imposing restriction as to territory, and so forth.

The Socialist Labor Party is opposed to that portion of proposed section 315 (p. 21 of the printed bill) letter “(c)” which provides that “No licensee shall, during a political campaign, permit the use of the facilities of a broadcast station for or against any candidate for any public office except

(3) by a regularly organized political party whose candidates' names appear on the ballot and whose duly chosen responsible officers designate a person to use such facilities." The adoption of this provision would nullify the present section 3.422 of the Federal Communications Commission rules which defines a "legally qualified candidate.” Keeping in mind the excessive ballot requirements in many States, notably California, Ohio, Illinois, and New York, the proposed change would deny the Socialist Labor Party, and other minority groups, an opportunity to broadcast in those States, if they should fail to qualify for a place on the ballot, notwithstanding the fact that we would duly nominate candidates for public office, and conduct a campaign in their behalf. To cite a specific instance, we reproduce herewith the letter that was sent by the Federal Communications Commission to radio station WJW, Cleveland, Ohio, when the latter refused to sell time for a broadcast by the Socialist Labor Party's candidate for President of the United States, on the ground that the candidate's name would not appear on the Ohio ballot :

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION,

Washington, D. C., September 5, 1944. Mr. W. M. O'NEIL,

President, Radio Station WJW, Cleveland, Ohio. DEAR SIR: This is in reference to your letters of July 11 and August 11, 1944, which were submitted in response to the Commission's request for your comments concerning the complaint of the Socialist Labor Party that, after having made arrangements for the sale of time to the party for the broadcast of speeches by its candidate for President of the United States, you refused to make available such time. You state that one of the reasons for your refusal to permit the broadcast was that the Socialist Labor Party's candidate "was not on the ballot at the time, and was consequently not a legally qualified candidate.”

Section 315 of the Communications Act provides : "If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station, and the Commission shall make rules and regulations to carry this provision into effect: Provided,

*

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

That such licensee shall have no power of censorship over the material broad. cast under the provisions of this section

Section 3.422 of the Commission's rules, adopted pursuant to the foregoing provision, defines a "legally qualified candidate” as follows:

“A ‘legally qualified candidate' means any person who has publicly announced that he is a candidate for nomination by a convention of a political party or for nomination or election in a primary, special, or general election, municipal, county, State, or National, and who meets the qualifications prescribed by the applicable laws to hold the office for which he is a candidate, so that he may be voted for by the electorate, directly or by means of delegates or electors, and who (a) has qualified for a place on the ballot or (b) is eligible under the applicable law to be® voted for by sticker, by writing in his name on the ballot, or by other method, and (1) has been duly nominated by a political party which is commonly known and regarded as such, or (2) makes a substantial showing that he is a bona fide candidate for nomination or office, as the case may be.”

It should be noted that section 3.422 does not require that a candidate's name appear on the printed election ballot. As is pointed out in the rule, a person may be a legally qualified candidate within the meaning of section 315 even though his name does not appear on the ballot if he possesses the constitutional qualifications for the office and if, in addition, under the applicable law he is eligible to be voted for by sticker or by writing in his name on the ballot and if he has been duly nominated by a political party which is commonly known and regarded as such.

An examination of the pertinent Ohio State's Ohio General Code, sections 4785–100a, 4785–131 (6), discloses that under the laws of Ohio, a person whose name does not appear on the ballot is eligible to be voted for by writing his name in on the ballot.

So far as appears, no question has been raised concerning the constitutional qualifications of Mr. Teichert to hold the office of President nor is there any dispute concerning his nomination for presidency by the Socialist Labor Party.

It would appeal also that the Socialist Labor Party is “a political party which is commonly known and regarded as such.” It appears that the Socialist Labor Party, which was first organized at Philadelphia, Pa., in July 1876, has participated in all Presidential elections since 1892 and that since that time it has either nominated its own candidates for President or has supported the nominees of one of the other minority parties. In this connection, it is significant that the Socialist Labor Party in included in the list of the five political parties recently, announced by the War Department as qualified to obtain time for the broadcast of political addresses to American armed forces overseas.

You are therefore requested to advise the Commission promptly as to wbat steps you intend to take to comply with the requirements of section 315 of the Communications Act and section 3.422 of the Commission's rules and regulations. By direction of the Commission,

T. J. SLOWIE, Secretary. We believe that the present FCC definition of a legally qualified candidate provides a measure of equal opportunity, whereas the proposed change would deny the use of the powerful medium of radio to candidates who would be kept off the ballot in various States by virtually prohibitive ballot requirements; the proposed change would likewise deny radio listeners the opportunity to hear the discussion of issues of vital concern to them. “Public interest, convenience, and necessity" will best be served by retaining, and, if possible, extending the existing provisions for political broadcasting.

The Socialist Labor Party favors the proposed two new sections to be added to section 17, part 1, of title III, with particular reference to that portion of proposed section 330 (p. 24 of the printed bill), which provides that "Neither the licensee of any station so used nor the Commission shall have the power to censor, alter, or in any manner affect or control the substance of any program material to be used : Provided, however, That no licensee shall be required to permit the broadcasting of any material which advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States by force or violence

etc.” The Socialist Labor Party has encountered repeated difficulties with radio censorship-censorship which resulted in certain radio stations denying us time because they did not agree with our views. In the case of radio station KFRC, San Francisco, Calif., in December 1944, we were told that the station did not believe that "it would be in the public interest to lend its facilities to the advocacy of the destructive doctrines of Karl Marx," which was the station's prejudiced and erroneous man.

*

zens.

ner of referring to the civilized program and principles of the Socialist Labor Party. And in the case of WNBH, New Bedford, Mass., we were denied the right to broadcast on January 31, 1946, because, according to James M. Patt, manager of WNBH, "It was apparent that the text of the proposed broadcast has for its purpose the destruction of our form of government, and, of course, any minor alterations would not alter its purpose.' Here was an obvious case of corporation censorship over political and economic opinions of American citi

The right to alter or abolish any form of government is inherent in the American tradition, and it is specifically provided for by article V of the Constitution of the United States. It is to be hoped that the proposed section 330 will favorably be recommended by the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, and that it will be interpreted as its plain language suggests, i. e., that "Neither the licensee of any station so used nor the Commission shall have the power to censor, alter, or in any manner affect or control the substance of any program material so used” [italics ours), and that this prohibition will apply to “discussion of public or political questions” as proposed section 330 provides.

The Socialist Labor Party respectfully recommends that the portion of proposed section 330 24 of the pr ted bill, beginning with line 7) be amplified, i. e., following the word "questions" (line 12) that the following be added : “including the views of each political party of record.” This recommendation is made on the basis of our experience with individual radio stations and with the networks. During the recent discussion of the Taft-Hartley bill, the Socialist Labor Party requested the major networks (ABC, CBS, MBS, and NBC) to give it equal opportunity to present its views on the then pending legislation. Only the ABC network responded with a 15-minute period. MBS admittedly allotted 30 periods for the discussion of this highly controversial (certainly public and political) question, but the Socialist Labor Party was not included. Mutual's arbitrary decision was that all sides of the question had been heard. Much the same attitude was taken by NBC and CBS. It is to be hoped that the adoption of proposed section 330 will bring relief to minority parties and groups having unique views on important public questions, and especially to an American political party of more than 50 years' standing—the Socialist Labor Party of America—and that the eventual adoption of proposed section 330 will give full meaning to the radio phrases “equal opportunity” and “freedom of speech" on the air.

The CHAIRMAN. The concluding witness is Mr. Bernard Johnpoll.

STATEMENT OF BERNARD JOHNPOLL, LICENSEE, RADIO STATION

KVOS, NEW YORK, N. Y. Mr. JOHNPOLL. Senator, my written statement is very short, and my supplementary statement will be entirely different from it.

I just wanted to take up two or three of the major provisions that I favor, and one that I oppose, which I should have mentioned in my statement but did not have time.

Section 5 is, I think, the most important section, and the one which has had the least coverage here by witnesses. It is very important, because it will divide the Federal Communications Commission into two separate and distinct subcommissions, something which should have been done a long time ago.

The broadcaster is distinct and separate from the common carrier. I think that the common carrier's problems cannot in any way be compared to the problems of the broadcaster.

I believe that the common carrier division, however, should have within it the right to control facsimile broadcasting, for the primary reason that the

facsimile broadcaster should be forced to give everyone the opportunity to receive what he sends, and it should not be limited to the larger newspapers but should be permitted to the smaller newspapers too.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »