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CONTACT: Patrick Ross
March 17, 2005
(202) 289-8928
The Indecency Debate - April 8
Bills Targeting Cable, Satellite are Focus of Capitol Hill Panel

WASHINGTON D.C. - Efforts by key House and Senate lawmakers to stiffen broadcast indecency rules and impose new rules and regulations for cable and satellite programming will be debated at a Progress & Freedom Foundation Congressional Seminar on Capitol Hill. The luncheon panel is the first sponsored by PFF's new Center for Digital Media Freedom, and will be hosted by the Center's director, PFF Senior Fellow Adam Thierer. The PFF Congressional Seminar "The Indecency Debate: Should Congress Extend Broadcast Rules to Other Media" takes place April 8 from 12:00 - 2 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room B389.

"In an age of information abundance and media convergence," Thierer says, "some claim that government must regulate media more broadly to protect society from certain content deemed by Washington lawmakers to be unacceptable. It is sad that our lawmakers would give up so easily on personal and parental responsibility. But it is particularly troubling that they would do so when the media in question is subscription-based and requires parents to expend considerable time and money to bring those services to the home." "Any extension of broadcast regulation to new media could, by extension, eventually impact the Internet and online speech," Thierer argues. "Regardless, congressional efforts to censor digital, subscription-based media will tee up the most important First Amendment case in decades."

Thierer will be joined on the panel by two industry experts well-versed in the subject, offering differing perspectives. One panelist is Marsha J. MacBride, who was the FCC Chief of Staff under Michael Powell and now is Executive Vice President, Law and Regulatory Policy for the National Association of Broadcasters. MacBride also served as a vice president for The Walt Disney Company in its Washington Office. Joining MacBride and Thierer will be Jill Luckett, Senior Vice President of Program Network Policy at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Luckett was a Special Advisor to former FCC Commissioner Rochelle Chong and served as a legislative aide to former U.S. Senator Robert Packwood (R-Oregon).

The indecency debate was hot last year after the famous Janet Jackson episode aired on Fox during the Superbowl half-time show. It has become even hotter recently, however, as Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and House Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) both have vowed to tackle not just broadcast indecency but content they feel is inappropriate on other media. Just this week, Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) introduced a bill (S-616) that would target not just broadcast content but basic cable fare as well.

Those interested in attending the PFF Congressional Seminar "The Indecency Debate: Should Congress Extend Broadcast Rules to Other Media" should register online. Lunch will be served. Media questions should be directed to Patrick Ross at 202-289-8928 or Other questions should be directed to Eileen Goulding at 202-289-8928 or

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation