Letter to Senators Warner and Allen re: Broadcast Censorship

March 23, 2004 Letter to Senators Warner and Allen

James Landrith
PO Box 8208
Alexandria, VA 22306-8208

March 23, 2004

The Honorable John William Warner
United States Senate
225 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4601

The Honorable George F. Allen
United States Senate
204 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4604

As your constituent, I urge you to oppose the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 (S. 2056), which would allow the government to levy large fines on broadcasts that the Federal Communications Commission considers "indecent." This economic censorship would dramatically infringe on the First Amendment and would hinder the diversity of programming available to consumers.

As the editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist and The Abolitionist Examiner, I believe putting the government in control of free speech is dangerous. Giving the government such enhanced power to fire broadcasters and artists threatens the free flow of ideas. It also opens the door to potential abuse: the government might someday decide that criticism of its policies are "indecent" and thereby hinder democratic debate.

This bill goes against true American values. The First Amendment says that freedom of speech should never be abridged. This proposed legislation is unconstitutional since it would dramatically hinder free speech by placing very strong punishments on those people who violate what the government censors consider "indecent."

This new legislation would dramatically hinder free speech. Performers and other television personalities would self-censor for fear that their comments might later be interpreted as offensive. Likewise, broadcasters would place strong controls and restrictions on their shows. Creative content that challenges our ideas would likely be squashed as too risky.

Once again, I urge you to oppose the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 (S. 2056).

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.


James Landrith

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