mass media law

Use the links and pdf’s to help answer the questions.


1. What do we in mass media law, and you as future media professionals, mean by “indecency” versus what an average person might think it means?

2. Is it somewhat inconsistent that something “indecent” or that something that’s “pornographic” (which is NOT a legal/constitutional definition) has constitutional protection, yet something “obscene” doesn’t? [After all, nasty explicit sex acts on the Web, as the furry beasts in Avenue Q would tell you, are protected speech under the First Amendment, so media outlets dealing in them or at the borderline have some protection from prosecution for them as a crime, or direct content regulation/censorship/prior restraint.]

3. There is some confusion and inconsistency even when we have a legal definition of indecency in the regulatory realm. Why? Because this, at its root, comes back to personal beliefs and attitudes, intercultural communications concepts, and co-culture (race, ethnicity, religion, community), subculture, sexual orientation and views on gender roles, faith matters. This all spills into politics, and politics spills into law and regulatory regimes governing indecency in mass media. Here, typically we mean legacy television (CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox content, plus “basic” cable or satellite-produced shows) and terrestrial (rather than SiriusXM) radio.