which air?

I heard a story on the radio this morning about how the US Congress is planning to enact strict fines for broadcasters who air indecent material. This apparently was planned prior to the Janet Jackson over-reaction thing at the Superbowl, but of course everyone’s on the bandwagon now. One sane-sounding provision was that network affiliates wouldn’t be fined for what the parent company sends them, because they have little or no control. The broadcasters’ association of course objects to this – they say that they have a good system of voluntary enforcement which so far has been quite adequate.

So I have two questions. Firstly what will constitute “indecent”? As Paul has noted, many times we’ll be “treated” to very violent movies on TV, with quite explicit pictures of people being maimed and killed in the name of entertainment, but with swearwords overdubbed and any potentially titillating view of flesh cut. Because as we all know, guns don’t do any harm but bad words: the downfall of civilization.

Secondly, it does seem strange to me that the government feel the need to enforce laws to protect the airways, but are quite content to have voluntary frameworks to protect the actual air, as demonstrated by the Administration’s blocking of the Kyoto Protocol etc. Nice work on priorities there, ladies and gentlemen.

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