First Amendment and Broadcasting Content Essay

Total Length: 619 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 3

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First Amendment rights are not absolute, particularly in regards to advertising. For example, there has been a great deal of pressure to regulate advertising directed at children that promotes unhealthy junk food. "There is a legal test for judging whether commercial speech qualifies for protection under the First Amendment. Called the Central Hudson test, it says that such speech must be truthful and not 'actually or inherently misleading'" and it has been argued that much of commercial advertising targeting children takes advantage of a credulous consumer's inability to tell the difference between truth and fiction (Bittman, 2012, par.11). In this instance, however, the objections raised to our new advertising campaign are not targeted at children. Rather, the concern is merely that children may see inappropriate material, even if it is not intended that they purchase the product.

In the past, the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed censorship of certain types of language with the explicit purposes of protecting children. In the Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica Foundation, "deliberate and repetitive use of words referring to excretory or sexual activities during an afternoon broadcast could be heard by children" ("First Amendment and Censorship," 2017, par.15). But the proposed advertisement for our company's new Scantily Clad line of clothing does not contain explicit language or images, merely innuendo: "So Light You Won't Know You are Wearing a Thing!" The innuendo is present in the mind of the viewer, not in the actual text or images of the advertisement.

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The advertisement does not contain any explicitly offensive language and even so, different standards are applied depending during the time of day in which material can be aired. "FCC decisions also prohibit the broadcast of profane material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.," with profane material being defined as "language includes those words that are so highly offensive that their mere utterance in the context presented may, in legal terms, amount to a nuisance," including, for example, the f-word, which was uttered the famous George Carlin broadcast which brought about the Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica Foundation ruling ("Obscenity, indecency, and profanity-FAQ," 2017, par.4).

Thus at minimum the advertisement should be permitted for late night advertising, not subject to a complete ban, since there is no evidence that the content meets the criteria for obscenity, which the Supreme Court intended to be used to restrict….....

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Bittman, M. (2012). The right to sell kids junk. The New York Times. Retrieved from:

First Amendment and censorship. (2017). US Legal. Retrieved from:

Obscenity, indecency, and profanity-FAQ. (2017). FCC. Retrieved from:

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