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Essay on The First Amendment

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The First Amendment


The 1st Amendment forbids Congress from enacting laws that would regulate speech or press before publication or punish after publication. At various times many states passed laws in contradiction to the freedoms guaranteed in the 1st Amendment. However broadcast has always been considered a special exemption to free speech laws for two reasons. 1) the most important reasons is the scarcity of spectrum and the 2) is the persuasiveness of the medium. Because radio and TV come into the house, and may be heard or seen by unsupervised children, the government feels a special responsibility to protect the American people. As Herbert Hoover said to, "doublegaurd them."
This is the main reason why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) independent agency of the United States government was created in 1934. The function of the commission is to regulate interstate and foreign radio, television, wire, and cable communications. To provide for orderly development and operation of broadcasting services, to provide for rapid, efficient nationwide and worldwide telegraph and telephone service.
Individual radio and TV stations are responsible for selecting everything they broadcast. Stations are responsible for choosing their entertainment programming, as well as their programs concerning local issues, news, public affairs, religion, sports events, and other subjects. They also decide how their programs will be conducted and whether to edit or reschedule material for broadcasting.
In 1987, the FCC responded to public complaints by adopting measures to restrict the use of explicit language about sex and bodily functions from the broadcasting media. Station operators voluntarily adhere to a code, designed by the ...


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For Americans the right to speak out is a treasured one. Americans are not hesitant to criticize public officials as important as the president and as commonplace as the garbage collector. A free press, as guaranteed in the First Amendment, plays a watchdog function in a democratic society: bringing people the information they need to exercise independent judgment in electing public officials. A free press is than an important part of a democratic society; it enables the people to make informed choices. However, when interests clash as they often do, when the message is hateful or insulting or embarrassing, when one person's freedom of expression begins to affect the rights of others, it becomes a most difficult right to deliver judgment. The FCC has a very precarious position between violating the First Amendment and protecting the citizens of the United States.


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