Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Say Goodbye To FCC Indecency Rules

John Hudson for The Atlantic Wire wrote an article today discussing a recent federal court ruling declaring the FCC's indecency rules to be to vague, stifling constitutionally protected free speech.

The federal appeals court wrote the following:
The absence of reliable guidance in the FCC's standards chills a vast amount of protected speech dealing with some of the most important and universal themes in art and science. Sex and the magnetic power of sexual attraction are surely among the most predominant themes in the study of humanity ... By prohibiting all 'patentently offensive' references to sex, sexual organs, and excretion without giving adequate guidance ... the FCC effectively chills speech because broadcasters have no way of know what the FCC will find offensive.
I think this is a great move.  Over the past several years, the government has regulated broadcasters under these vague rules, issuing fines and penalties for material they deem inappropriate.  You would think this ruling would be celebrated by the free speech loving tea partiers, but unfortunately they believe in growing the moral regulatory powers of the government.  Just look at what Fox News has to say about the ruling - they focused on the possible tolerance of "fleeting expletives" the "anti-family" ruling may bring.

I think that if Elena Kagan was smart, she would come out in support of this ruling, because doing so would force conservatives to have to take a public position of either regulating free speech or supporting less restrictions on the 1st Amendment.  The results would be entertaining.

Too bad George Carlin wasn't around for this day...

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