Government Overregulation of Broadcast Content Could BackfireWritten by Terry Mitchell
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Many people forget that FCC and Congress are not final arbiters of these matters. The courts are. In past, courts have vigorously defended First Amendment and I believe they will continue this trend. By playing hardball, FCC and Congress will leave broadcasters with no other option but to take them to court. Even though courts have, in past, upheld FCC's reasonable jurisdiction over broadcast TV, things could change if government's newly attempted heavy-handed penalties are challenged. Long ago, courts stripped away government's "right" to regulate indecency on cable and satellite channels. If government decides it really wants to play hardball with broadcasters, it could ultimately lose any jurisdiction over broadcast content as well. But let's suppose government's more restrictive regulations are upheld by courts. That's definitely a possibility. However, because of greatly increase fines and possibility of license revocation, courts will likely force FCC to be more specific and draw up more detailed indecency guidelines. They are currently vague, to say least. Iíll use following illustration to demonstrate how vague FCCís current guidelines really are. Letís suppose that none of roads or highways we all drive on everyday had posted speed limits. Instead, letís suppose they just had signs warning us not to drive too fast. Then letís suppose that police were allowed to subjectively write tickets whenever they thought someone was driving too fast, but would never actually define what they thought ďtoo fastĒ really was. Thatís similar to how FCC operates. It doesnít provide any specific guidelines and only investigates a claim of indecency when someone files a complaint. It never explicitly states what a broadcaster can and cannot do. Now, going back to our speeding analogy, letís suppose that we (along with courts) tolerated this kind of speed enforcement because fines were relatively small and no oneís license was ever revoked. However, what do you think would happen if governing authority decided to greatly increase fines for speeding and allow possibility of license revocations for such violations, without giving us specific speed limits? We would not stand still for such a thing and neither would courts. Posted speed limits would be mandated. With FCC forced to write more specific rules governing indecency, it could find itself in a very precarious position. If, for example, FCC strictly forbids specific words from being used and/or specific body parts from being shown on broadcast TV, it will invite another court battle that it will probably lose. However, if it explicitly lists situations in which certain words can be used and/or certain body parts can be shown, broadcasters will begin to find loopholes in these rules and exploit them. We all know that more specific a law or rule is, easier it is to find loopholes in it. The bottom line is that more aggressive enforcement of indecency regulations on broadcast TV and radio could backfire and actually lead to even racier content. Members of Congress would be advised to look before they leap.
Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, and trivia buff from Hopewell, VA. He also serves as a political columnist for American Daily and operates his own website - http://www.commenterry.com - on which he posts commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology, religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports. His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not often found in mainstream media.
Back In TimeWritten by Ken Slater
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The purpose of voting was to give legitimacy to Saigon Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a military junta.
Few members of that junta are still around, most having been ousted or exiled in subsequent shifts of power.
Significance Not Diminished
The fact that backing of electorate has gone to generals who have been ruling South Vietnam for last two years does not, in Administration's view, diminish significance of constitutional step that has been taken.
The hope here is that new government will be able to maneuver with a confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese politics. That hope could have been dashed either by a small turnout, indicating widespread scorn or a lack of interest in constitutional development, or by Vietcong's disruption of balloting.
American officials had hoped for an 80 per cent turnout. That was figure in election in September for Constituent Assembly. Seventy-eight per cent of registered voters went to polls in elections for local officials last spring.
Before results of presidential election started to come in, American officials warned that turnout might be less than 80 per cent because polling place would be open for two or three hours less than in election a year ago. The turnout of 83 per cent was a welcome surprise. The turnout in 1964 United States Presidential election was 62 per cent.
Captured documents and interrogations indicated in last week a serious concern among Vietcong leaders that a major effort would be required to render election meaningless. This effort has not succeeded, judging from reports from Saigon.
Ken Slater is the Editor of www.miamitopics.com