Media & Communications Policy

Media & Communications Policy

Issues & Developments in the Realm of Communications and Media Policy & the First Amendment

Category Archives: Broadcast Indecency

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A Court Strangely Conflicted About Indecency

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Content Controls, FCC, First Amendment, Free speech, Media jurisprudence
By guest blogger LAURENCE H. WINER, professor of law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. "You taught me language, and my profit on't is I know how to curse." - Caliban in The Tempest Here's a question the late language maven, William Safire, might have pondered listening to the recent Supreme Court oral argument in the Fox and ABC broadcast indecency cases. What is truly "indecent" in the normative, Webster's Third sense of the word as "not conforming to generally accepted standards of morality"… Continue Reading

Back to Square One

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Broadcasting, Content Controls, FCC, First Amendment, Media jurisprudence, Media Regulation
Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions most awaited by First Amendment advocates this term have landed with a thud.  Or maybe a whimper.  But certainly not with a bang. On April 28, the Court upheld the FCC’s power to implement a tougher policy against so-called “fleeting expletives” on live television.  This was the Second Circuit’s … Continue Reading

The FCC, Indecency, and the Rule of Law

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Content Controls, First Amendment, Media jurisprudence, Media Regulation
Call it a victory for the rule of law.  And a victory for common sense. On July 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s fine against CBS televisions stations for airing the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. As you might remember, this was the so-called “wardrobe malfunction” … Continue Reading

Those “Outlaw” Television Networks?

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Broadcasting, Content Controls, First Amendment, Media Regulation
George Carlin’s death on June 22 came only days before the 30th anniversary of what has become his legacy in Washington policy circles: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Pacifica decision. That ruling centered on Carlin’s comedy bit "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" (commonly known as the “Seven Dirty Words” routine), and guided the … Continue Reading