Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

David L. Hudson on FCC Regulation of Cable and DBS

David L. Hudson of the First Amendment Center discusses possible results if Congress allows the FCC to regulate indecency on premium cable or satellite.

Proponents of government regulation stress society’s compelling need to protect children from harmful material online. Commentator Matthew S. Schwartz argued in a 2007 article for the Richmond Journal of Law & Technology that “if the government is serious about its stated goals of protecting children and the sanctity of the home, then the FCC should expand indecency regulations to cable and DBS.”

Opponents counter that extending FCC authority could lead to rank censorship. Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center, wrote in 2007 that “the public ought to be very careful about handing over the national TV remote control to the heavy hand of government so that it can restrict the free choice of some viewers to tune in.”

Still others argue that while distinctions between cable and broadcast seem to have lessened, the FCC should abandon enforcement of broadcast indecency rather than expand into other realms.

Read more of his commentary here.

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