2739.03 Conditions for liability of owners, licensees, or operators of radio and television stations.

(A) The owner, licensee, or operator of a visual or sound radio broadcasting station or network of stations shall not be liable for any damages for any defamatory statement uttered over the facilities of the station or network by or on behalf of any candidate for public office if the statement is not subject to censorship or control by reason of any federal statute or any ruling or order of the federal communications commission made pursuant thereto, provided, however, that this section shall not apply to any owner, licensee or operator of a visual or sound radio broadcasting station, or network of stations when the owner, licensee, or operator is a candidate for public office or speaking on behalf of a candidate for public office.

(B) The owner, licensee, or operator shall not be liable for any damages for any defamatory statement published or uttered in or as a part of a visual or sound radio broadcast by one other than the owner, licensee, or operator, or agent or employee thereof, if the owner, licensee, or operator proves that the owner, licensee, or operator exercised reasonable care to prevent the publication or utterance of the statement in such broadcast time.

(C) If any broadcasting station, at any time, broadcasts, publishes, or circulates any false statement, allegation, or rumor pertaining or relating to any individual or association of individuals, to any trade, labor, business, social, economic or religious organization, to any firm, corporation, or business, or to any public official or candidate for a public office, the broadcasting station, upon demand of any person or persons affected or of their representatives, shall broadcast any statement setting forth in proper language the truth pertaining to the statement, allegation, or rumor, which said person or persons or their representatives shall offer to the broadcasting station for broadcast.

(D) Whenever demand has been made for the broadcast of a statement under division (C) of this section, the broadcasting station shall broadcast the statement within forty-eight hours following the receipt of the statement. The statement shall be phrased in proper language and be broadcast without any additions to, or omissions from it, in as prominent a manner and at as prominent a time as the original broadcast to which the statement relates. The broadcasting station shall broadcast the statements without cost to such persons or their representatives; and the broadcast may be proved at the trial of a suit for damages as a mitigating circumstance to reduce damages, provided that any voluntary broadcast made without demand may be used to rebut any presumption of malice or injury on the part of the station growing out of the original broadcast to which the same related. This section does not prevent the injured party from alleging and proving actual malice on the part of the owner, licensee, or operator, and any special damages resulting to the injured party therefrom.

(E) Every statement that broadcasting stations are required to broadcast under division (C) of this section shall be sworn to by the person offering the statement for broadcast, but the certificate of the notary or other official showing that the statement was so made under oath shall not be broadcast.

Whoever purposely swears falsely to any such statement is guilty of falsification in violation of section 2921.13 of the Revised Code.

No broadcasting station shall be held liable in any civil or criminal proceedings for anything in any such statement.

(F) No broadcasting station shall refuse or fail to broadcast and circulate any statement or article if true as required by division (C) of this section.

(G) Any person responsible for refusing to broadcast and circulate any statement mentioned in division (C) of this section shall be fined as provided in division (H) of section 2739.99 of the Revised Code.

The prosecuting attorney of the county in which the broadcasting station is located when complaint is made to the prosecuting attorney in writing of the refusal or failure of any such broadcasting station or persons to comply with divisions (C), (D), (E), (F), and (G) of this section, relative to the broadcasting of such statements, shall investigate the complaint and upon reasonable cause shall begin proceedings against the broadcasting station or person and prosecute the same.

Cite as R.C. § 2739.03

History. Effective Date: 07-01-1996