In 1996 Congress passed the Telecommunications Act. This legislation addressed growing public concern that children could access, at least in part, sexually explicit programming through a phenomenon called "signal bleed." Signal bleed occurs when visual or audio portions of programs can be seen or heard despite cable providers' attempt to scramble the programs. The act required that cable providers fully scramble or otherwise fully block those channels or limit transmission to hours when children are unlikely to watch television. Most cable operators adopted the latter approach, broadcasting programs only during an eight-hour period at night. Playboy Entertainment Group, a firm that transmitted sexually explicit programming to cable television operators, filed suit against the federal government. The suit claimed that the Telecommunications Act violated the First Amendment, and it asked for an injunction prohibiting the act's enforcement. The district court ruled that the act imposed a content-based restriction on speech; the court concluded that although the government interests were compelling, the government could further those interests in a less restrictive way. How do you think the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in this case? Why?

  • CreatedOctober 21, 2015
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