Wednesday, March 02, 2005


So you thought you would be safe at Sirius, Howard Stern...

If you assumed that freedom of speech had a safe haven in pay-television and radio services -- which currently aren't under FCC "decency" standards -- THINK AGAIN!

This from The Washington Post:

Currently, the Federal Communications Commission has the authority to fine only over-the-air radio and television broadcasters for violating its indecency regulations, which forbid airing sexual or excretory material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children are most likely watching.

But Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) told a group of broadcasters yesterday that he wants to extend that authority to cover the hundreds of cable and satellite television and radio channels that operate outside of the government's control. In addition to basic cable channels such as ESPN, Discovery and MTV, that would include premium channels such as HBO and Showtime and the two satellite radio services, XM and Sirius.

"We put restrictions on the over-the-air signals," Stevens said after his address to the National Association of Broadcasters, according to news reports confirmed by his staff. "I think we can put restrictions on cable itself. At least I intend to do my best to push that."

The Reuters account of the story quotes Stevens saying, "No one wants censorship."

Whew! I guess there's nothing to worry about. You had us going there for a minute, Ted.

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