ERIC Number: ED233360
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
The Auxiliary Medium and the Courts: Judicial Consideration of Cable TV and the First Amendment.
Parsons, Patrick R.
A review of federal court decisions in the area of cable television and First Amendment rights reveals an early, unified perception of cable's First Amendment status that has given way in the past decade to fragmented and often contradictory positions among lower level courts. This makes the problem before the courts today one of choosing from, or reconciling, the conflicting models that have been applied in different jurisdictions and contexts. Specifically, such a review suggests that judicial decision making has been guided by definitions of cable television that have moved through historically defined paradigms. In its early period, for example, cable was seen as an auxiliary service, a retransmission device without standing as a First Amendment speaker. This model dissolved, however, with changing technology and changing popular opinion as to the nature and social role of the medium in the 1970s. The 1981 decision in "Community Communications v. Boulder" appears to be a "state of the art" exposition of the First Amendment status and problems of cable delivered expression. It seems to accept that cable is a medium and a speaker for First Amendment purposes. However, the courts remain confused about whether there exists a sound rationale for government regulation of cable speech, what form that rationale might take if it does not exist, and the nature and extent of permissable controls given a particular rationale. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment