Instead of letting each of us choose what we want to watch and hear, Congress is moving quickly to require large fines on ""indecent"" content. This economic censorship would dramatically infringe on the First Amendment and would hinder the diversity of programming available to consumers.
We each have a right to watch what we want on television, and change the channel if we don't like what we see. If a television show is offensive we can complain to the broadcaster and choose never to watch that show again. This market process allows us to find programming that meets our individual tastes and is free of government interference.
New legislation, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 (S. 2056), would allow the government to levy large fines on broadcasts that the Federal Communications Commission considers ""indecent."" This vague definition would lead to broadcasters censoring their content and forbidding their staff from playing controversial material. The proposed legislation would even allow the FCC to impose large fines on musicians, comedians and other artists who it considers ""indecent.""
Take Action! Urge your Members of Congress to oppose this economic censorship of our nation's broadcasting.
Putting the government in control of free speech is dangerous.
Giving the government such enhanced power to fine broadcasters and artists threatens the free flow of ideas. It also opens the door to potential abuse: the government might someday decide that criticism of its policies are ""indecent"" and thereby hinder democratic debate.
This bill goes against true American values.
The First Amendment says that freedom of speech should never be abridged. This proposed legislation is unconstitutional since it would dramatically hinder free speech by placing very strong punishments on those people who violate what the government censors consider ""indecent.""
This new legislation would dramatically hinder free speech.
Performers and other television personalities would self-censor for fear that their comments might later be interpreted as offensive. Likewise, broadcasters would place strong controls and restrictions on their shows. Creative content that challenges our ideas would likely be squashed as too risky.