WASHINGTON D.C. - This morning, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Federal Communications Commission vs. Fox Television Stations, Inc. Adam Thierer, Senior Fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, had the following comments:
"This case will have profound ramifications for the future of the First Amendment and the regulatory treatment of old and new media platforms alike. It is important that the FCC not be permitted to so casually change its regulatory approach, as it did in the matter before the Court today. The FCC's new approach has created a confusing and arbitrary regulatory atmosphere that leaves many speakers wondering what they can and cannot say on broadcast television and radio stations today.
"It's also vital that the Court recognize how the FCC is being unduly influenced by a small handful of particular vociferous special interest groups who are artificially inflating the number of indecency complaints and attempting to propagate the myth that they speak for the masses. It is important for the Supreme Court to not allow a small minority to achieve a "heckler's veto" over content on television or radio.
"Finally, it is important that the Supreme Court rein in the FCC in this matter to also ensure the agency does not seek to expand its powers to cover new media platforms. The First Amendment rights of speakers using cable, satellite, and even the Internet, could be at stake here. We live in an age of media and technological convergence and, therefore, it is vital the Court not allow the FCC to engage in a form of regulatory convergence by letting this old regime bleed over into new quarters."
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.