FCC and the issue of free speech over the airwaves
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has been accused of blatantly ignoring the right of free speech, as guaranteed to American citizens in the first amendment of the Bill Of Rights (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.) This would make it seem that we have the right to say whether or not but it does not seem to be leaning that way. Few students these days are politically concerned. I am. I guess it's easier to ignore the world around you and not care about what's happening until it slams into two 101-story economic center. We do not see that the right to free speech is being denied to members of the media everyday. Now hasn't the media always been seen as part of the press. If this is the truth, than why has shock jock D.J been fined so many times by a government agency by exercising his right to free speech over the airwaves? 100,000 dollar fines does not seem to make voicing your opinion and saying what you want to say very free. it seems that it would cost a lot of money.(www.cnn.com)
What most people seem to think is that the freedom of expression is guaranteed to the media through the writing of the first amendment. But once again the FCC and the Supreme Court have decided to step all over this ruling and levy fines against the media outlet that broadcast the Super Bowl for showing indecent material in the form of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the half-time show of the game. After this incident Congress decided to step in and se how bad they could slam the medias right to free speech. Bills in the House and Senate call for raising the maximum fine from $32,500 to as much as $500,000 per incident. A simple mishap or even planned moment of indecency, what could be argued as a free expression that does harm to no one is not going to be cheap. Some congressmen have decided to go on rants that I view as an attempt to rule in a totalitarianistic sense over the media and press. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich "With passage of this legislation, I am confident that broadcasters will think twice about pushing the envelope."(www.dailyvidette.org)
From this subject we can go on to why governing bodies have decided to go ahead and take control of the media and the press. One argument is that young children have access to all of these outlets due to the fact that the youth are so technology savvy. All children nowadays know how to work a T.V as well as turn on a radio and dial in to their favorite stations. So I believe that everyone can agree that children, when push comes to shove have access to the programming that can be seen as indecent. But there is another side to that argument. Is it not true that parents set boundaries in households anymore, it is not truly necessary that we let children sit around and watch T.V or listen to the radio. Parents still have the authority to turn these outlets off and have there kids go outside and play sports or read books that they approve. I do hold other peoples opinions as valid, but I do not see it as being necessary for the media and press to be so tightly regulated.
One form of press that does not see a restricted version of free speech from the government is the newspapers. But we seem to do enough censoring of these on our own. say a newspaper comes out that truly has radical views, and a lot of indecency throughout its pages. Do you think you would buy it. I believe that if you did you would be one of a very small percentage of people who would even look twice at the cover. Most people would in all likelihood wright a complaint, and some would even wright to legislatures thinking that they have the right to do something. Although they do not and this has been proven in many Supreme Cases against the New York Times, in the years passed.(law.cornell.com)
The one form of media and press that is completely free is the world wide web, commonly referred to as the Internet. The internet is free for one and only one reason. it is international and the United States supreme court has absolutely no right at all to make decisions on the content of anything shared over the internet. It has been decided that those inside the United States can be charged for sharing copyrighted material over peer to peer internet networks. A decision that could set a scary precedent for United States censorship of the world wide web.
There is absolutely no argument for the internet being censored. It cannot corrupt the minds of the youth, with parents having the ability to set parental controls on home computers. Schools and libraries, the other places with resources such as these available also set controls and blocks on websites. With all of the justices of the supreme court nearing retirement, and probably not being too techno-savvy, do we really want them making decisions on something that they in all honesty probably do not know much about.
The FCC's modus operandi is if people don't like how we tell them to broadcast than we will level fines until they go out of business. The only man who seems to want to control his own destiny is Howard Stern. He has been following Thoreus idea of Civil disobedience. Until he realized that there is no hope with the FCC and he said once his contract with Clear-channel Communications is up he will be moving to Sirius satellite radio. Another entity that the FCC has absolutely no control over.
I believe that the FCC is stomping on free speech, and that is a shame. We Americans as a country are scared that indecency will ruin our families. What are we thinking? We give radio Safe Harbor from ten ocklock p.m to 6 ocklock a.m to broadcast semi-indecent material. Now doesn't this all seem a bit ridiculous to you too??