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First Amendment Status of Cable TV v. Broadcast

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First Amendment Status of Cable TV v. Broadcast Electronic media content can be viewed differently according to personal opinions, but the First Amendment Rights of the United States Constitution lay the foundation for the legal system that is to be followed. These rights form a guide that help citizens have a stronger grasp on what is and isn’t acceptable within the eye of the law. Narrowing down to electronic media content, there has been a rise of tension involving first amendment rights of content regulations. The spectrum scarcity rationale has made it possible to control licensing schemes, along with direct content control to make sure rules are being followed according to the First Amendment. The differences between cable TV versus broadcasting are similar, yet contrasting. Broadcasting involves specific rules and regulations that must be followed. The paramount justification for regulating broadcast is the scarcity rationale. The radio spectrum is extremely large, and cannot assist the needs of everyone who wants to broadcast. The spectrum as a whole relies on the government to manage and operate it. It is up to them to decide what broadcasters will best serve the public. A scarcity rationale case, NBC v. United States arose when regulations and restrictions were put on radio stations that were to protect “public interest.” Radio Networks proceeded to test the guidelines and licensing laws, resulting in the FCC gaining strong power over regulations of the radio spectrum. Although the Communications Act provides equal opportunities to all candidates with equivalent broadcast time, it still did not confine the FCC from having overall control. The 1969 case of Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC was the landmark decision ... ... middle of paper ... ...erators like the print media in accordance to the First Amendment protection. In 1994, the Supreme Court found the proper standard for the cable medium. Turner Broadcasting System v. FCC (Turner I), the court ruled that cable TV regulations should be inspected under the same First Amendment standards that were set forth in O’Brien case. If the system regulations are not content based, there is a chance of being upheld in court. Content-based is a difficult issue to sort. The case that represents this topic the best is City of Los Angeles v. Preferred Communications, Inc. This case showed that cable operators are entitled to first amendment rights; there can't be a single franchise over an entire city. Works Cited Zelezny, John D., Communications Law 6th edition School of Journalism and Communication, Broadcasting: The First Amendment, journalism.uoregon.edu
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