Technology May Make Censorship Obsolete

from the one-can-only-hope dept

Under various guises, like public ownership of the airwaves, the government, from time to time, engages in censorship. The famous seven words you can't say on the air proved an irritant to Howard Stern in his early days. Eventually, a new technology (satellite radio) allowed him to broadcast outside the reach of the FCC, and he's now free to say whatever he likes. This week, the WB announced that they would self censor an episode of their racy drama The Bedford Diaries, to avoid the FCC's wrath, but they also announced that the unedited version would be available online. As Adam Thierer argues, technological progress signals the death of government content controls. Conversely, government content controls hasten the death of free broadcast media, as they're an impetus to distribute over new platforms. While this is a great trend, this could also result in a backlash elsewhere -- such as giving the FCC regulatory powers over internet content. Already, some want the FCC to regulate indecency on cable TV. There's no public-ownership excuse there, that's just censorship.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Glenn Allen, 24 Mar 2006 @ 4:43am


    The problems of society BEGIN with parents not actually raising their children but leaving that chore to, among other things, TV and learning it "on the street" (which includes schools). This particular country (U.S.) was founded on the principle that every citizen has the right to decide for himself and his family (women not having specific rights back then) what should or should not be "learned"; government was mandated to stay out of everyday life as much as possible. Nowadays, everybody seems to want to involve themselves in everybody else's life. I'm not going to tolerate someone else telling me what I have a right to hear or see or know. You can choose for yourself and your family, but you ain't gonna choose for me. I find it disturbing that people are offended by words as opposed to the meaning behind the words. I find it disturbing that people consider the sole methodology for creating life--sex--to be something "dirty". The primary impetus for so many problems seems to be the overwhelming desire of too many people to try to control and manipulate nature instead of simply living in harmony with it. Thought is natural. Sex is natural. Knowledge is a good thing. Wisdom does NOT come with age, only with experience; the only thing age makes you is older. My point? Raise your children to learn as much as possible and to think for themselves.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.