WASHINGTON --- Today the Supreme Court ruled in FCC v.
Fox that the FCC can continue to fine broadcasters for “fleeting
expletives.” According to Don Watkins, a writer for the Ayn Rand Center for
“The Court failed to address the basic constitutional question in this case:
are the non-objective ‘indecency’ laws that permit the FCC to dictate what
Americans can say and hear on the airwaves consistent with the right to free
speech? The answer to that is: absolutely not.
“The Supreme Court has defined ‘indecency’ as speech that ‘depicts or
describes sexual or excretory activities and organs in terms patently offensive
as measured by contemporary community standards.’ But which Americans count as
part of the community? Why are they king? And how are broadcasters to divine the
community’s supposedly shared standards?
“As the history of the government’s anti-indecency regime has shown, these
questions are unanswerable. The only way for broadcasters to play it safe is to
engage in self-censorship, cutting any material regulators might declare
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“And once the government becomes the enforcer of ‘community standards,’ no
speech is safe. How long until the courts start rubber-stamping the Bible Belt’s
efforts to suppress the theory of evolution on the grounds that it many find it
offensive, or that it supposedly corrupts young minds and undermines community
“The government must stop telling Americans what we can say and hear on the
airwaves. Sadly, the Supreme Court failed to take this opportunity to protect
our constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.”