ACLU, 9/19/7

The American Civil Liberties Union said today that legislation that attempts to regulate the content of television programs introduced today by Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) treads on the First Amendment. The legislation would attempt to regulate “indecent” television programming by requiring the Federal Communications Commission to implement a policy that would make a single word or image “indecent.”

“Rep. Pickering’s proposed legislation tries to replace parents with Uncle Sam. It is not up to our government to determine what is and is not ‘decent’ – that is a job for parents,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. “We are not blind to the concerns that parents have about trash on TV, but the best solution is for parents is to turn off the television, change the channel or use a technological screening tool, not to regulate what all Americans – including the two thirds of American households without children – watch on television.” Fredrickson added, “regulating television indecency is not something the government can do well and it is not something that can be done without damaging our First Amendment rights.”