FCC's indecency crusade has gone “dangerously” too far

At a conference in Colorado, Jonathan Adelstein said the Commission was overstepping its constitutional authority.
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In a major break with his fellow FCC commissioners, Jonathan Adelstein charged last week that the regulatory body had gone “dangerously” far with recent indecency decisions and may have been overstepping its constitutional authority.

Speaking last week to the Progress & Freedom Foundation in Aspen, CO, Adelstein said he still supported enforcement of indecency regulations, but said the FCC's recent decisions on the subject “dangerously expands the scope of indecency and profanity law without first attempting to determine whether we are applying the appropriate contemporary community standards.”

He warned that the result of the FCC's overstepping its authority might be a court ruling that the commission could no longer regulate content at all. “We may forever lose the ability to prevent the airing of indecent material,” he said.

An accomplished musician, Adelstein took particular offense to the FCC's proposed fine for the acclaimed Martin Scorsese documentary “The Blues: Godfathers and Sons.”

He also said that the FCC — when it comes to indecent programming — had not provided broadcasters with “a coherent and principled” framework that was rooted in commonsense and sound constitutional grounds.