New York Times Symposium on Future of Indecency Regulation

by on July 19, 2010 · 0 comments

As part of its excellent “Room for Debate” series, the New York Times has an interesting new online symposium up now asking, “Will Networks Go Wild, With No Decency Rules?”  It was in response to last week’s Second Circuit decision, which again slapped down an effort by the Federal Communications Commission to defend the agency’s indecency enforcement regime.  I was honored to be asked to contribute a short essay on the subject. Here are the other contributors and their essays.  Take the time to check them out:

I was particularly interested in former FCC’s Chairman Michael Powell’s admission that “The [FCC’s] fleeting expletive policy was a mistake,” and that “the real problem is the now-flawed constitutional foundation on which the law is built.” Powell goes on to argue that, “We cannot have one First Amendment for broadcasting and another one for every other medium. This vestige of a bygone era provides fertile ground for mischief — culture wars, political agenda and moral mandates. It’s high time for the high court to bring our laws into the 21st century.”

I wholeheartedly agree, and I wrote a lengthy law review article on just that topic back in 2007 entitled,“Why Regulate Broadcasting: Toward a Consistent First Amendment Standard for the Information Age.” If you find it too boring, just watch this video I made summarizing the key points, which I called “America’s First Amendment Twilight Zone.”

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