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.
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  1. identicon
    Old Father, 24 Mar 2006 @ 7:50am

    Sad state of the US

    The comments here really do show the sad state of affairs here in the good old US of A. How we as a nation got to the point where seeing a bare breast or heaven forbid a genital, is totally offensive and must be censored, but showing 50 people killed is good family fun. i will use 2 resent movies to highlight my point. A theater recently pulled Broke Back Mountain on week of release to appease the local church protest. The same theater the same month showed Saw2, a movie with so much violence and gore people were getting physically ill, yet no one protested or demanded it not be shown. Now I am not saying that either movie is good or bad, but as a parent it is my job to decide if my children should see them, and while I will need to screen prior before deciding if it acceptable, I can assure you neither of them will be allowed to see the latter. Just my 2 cents, and I apologize for my meandering soapbox speech

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