Party Election Broadcasts

Party election broadcasts (PEBs) are blocks of television and radio airtime allocated free of charge to parties during election campaigns. They are effectively free political advertising rationed to parties that meet certain criteria. While the practice of allocating free airtime is common in countries with traditions of public service broadcasting, the name “Party Election Broadcast” is associated with the United Kingdom. Britain offers an extreme example of the practice in that paid political advertising is prohibited completely on television and radio, while PEBs must be carried by designated commercial television and radio channels as well as the public broadcaster, the BBC. Few other countries provide this particular combination of controls. Thus Britain stands at the opposite end of the spectrum from the United States, which ...

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