Political Advertising Policy
Smoke Signals recognizes that the nature of political advertising is to inform voters and its editors are committed to fairness and freedom of expression.
Any advertisement involving a political figure, party or government issue, regardless of whether or not there is an election, is considered political.
Political ads must follow our editorial and content policies (including our trademark policies).
Smoke Signals may refuse any ads or terminate ad campaigns at any time, for any reason. We permit political advertisements regardless of the political views they represent, and apply our policies equally.
Smoke Signals is committed to being a neutral platform for people to advertise their political messages.
Any advertisement or notice other than for products and/or services, known as “message advertisements,” must be approved for publication by the Editor of Smoke Signals.
Smoke Signals will not accept advertisements that attack an individual's personal life. Stating disagreement with or campaigning against a candidate for public office, a political party, or public administration is generally permissible. However, political ads must not include accusations or attacks relating to an individual's personal life. So, "Crime rates are up under Police Commissioner Gordon" is okay, but "Police Commissioner Gordon had an affair" is not.
Any political advertising, which directly or indirectly mentions an opposing candidate or opinion, must be published in time to give opposition an opportunity to reply. Smoke Signals will, at its’ discretion provide an opportunity for opposing views to be published the same issue that any negative advertising is placed.
Smoke Signals will not “pick sides” during any political race. We follow generally accepted journalistic policies and provide fair access to all candidates running for office. This means we provide the same opportunities for press releases to all candidates running for an office. Each candidate running is given the same opportunities as any other candidate.
Any person or organization placing political advertising, which directly or indirectly mentions someone or some organization or governmental policy in an unflattering way, must provide Smoke Signals with documentation proving any statement included in the advertising.
Prior to election the paper often publishes letters to the editor voicing opinions about the candidates. Supporters may submit letters endorsing a candidate but personal attacks rather than policy comments about opponents will not be accepted. Smoke Signals does not print form letters. (See Smoke Signals guidelines for letters to the editor at the end of this document.)
If the advertisement solicits political donations, the text must clearly state that donations are not necessarily tax-deductible.
Any person or organization placing political advertising or letters to the editor, which directly or indirectly contain intentional or unintentional misstatement of fact about someone and/or some organization or governmental policy must sign a form holding Smoke Signals/HOA harmless if any lawsuits are filed.
All political ads must include all information required by local, state and federal law: “Paid Political Advertisement” and the name and address of the individual or organization responsible for placement of the ad is required to be included in all advertising.
Candidates may advertise at any time before or after filing for an election. We do not have special increased rates for political advertising but use our standard display advertising rates.
All political advertising will be published only when full payment has been made prior to the deadline of publication date, and the insertion order has been signed by the candidate or agent.
A person commits an offense if — with intent to injure a candidate or influence the result of an election — that person:
- enters into an agreement to print, publish, or broadcast political advertising that purports to emanate from a source other than its true source.
- knowingly represents in a campaign communication that the communication emanates from a source other than its true source.
- misrepresents the person’s identity or, if acting or purporting to act as an agent, misrepresents the identity of the agent’s principal, in political advertising or a campaign communication.
- knowingly represents in a campaign communication that a candidate holds a public office that the candidate does not hold at the time the representation is made.
- other than an officeholder commits an offense if the person knowingly uses a representation of the state seal in political advertising.