NYC appeals to b’cast Fox News

NEW YORK (Reuters) — New York City urged a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a temporary order won by Time Warner Inc. that is keeping Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News off a city-run cable television channel.

In arguments before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Elizabeth Freedman, a city lawyer, said that New York — not cable operator Time Warner — has the right to decide what is shown on its channels designated for “public, educational and governmental” (PEG) use. A three-member panel took the case under advisement.

In November, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that the city had violated Time Warner’s First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution by trying to force Time Warner to carry the Fox programming and interfere with its editorial discretion.

She said New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, in an effort to help Murdoch, a political supporter, planned to air Fox News on a city-run cable channel to pressure Time Warner to carry it on a commercial station.

The dispute centers on the role of the city’s five stations, known as “Crosswalks.” Giuliani decided to place the new 24-hour Fox news programming without commercials on one of the Crosswalks channels after Time Warner rejected it.

Time Warner sued the city, alleging Giuliani was acting to please Murdoch, a prominent conservative whose News Corp. Ltd. owns the New York Post and WNYW-TV, a broadcast channel.

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