ERIC Number: ED170810
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979-May
Reference Count: N/A
Indecent Broadcasts and the Listener's Right of Privacy.
Glasser, Theodore L.; Jassem, Harvey C.
In the 1978 "FCC v. Pacifica Foundation" ruling, the United States Supreme Court considered the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate indecent radio programing, finding that the public has a constitutionally protected interest in being protected against objectionable programing. The FCC suit, arising out of a broadcast of comedian George Carlin's "Filthy Words" satire, focused on three aspects of radio which distinguish it from less obtrusive modes of communication, justifying special treatment of offensive or objectionable broadcasts: children, often unsupervised, have access to radios; radios are in the home where the privacy interest is entitled to extra consideration; and unconsenting adults may tune in a station without any warning that offensive language is being broadcast. Confusion surrounds the type of balance sought by the Court in conflicts between intrusive expressions and privacy claims. While government may properly act in many situations to prohibit intrusion into the privacy of the home of unwelcome views and language which cannot be totally barred from public dialogue, no substantial agreement exists regarding when intrusion by expression constitutes an invasion of privacy. (DF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A