A Scantily Clad Law
|Rice E. Roni, Supervising Attorney, CARDWARE Inc|
|Scantily Clad Commercial On WBLAH|
The purpose of this Memo is to discuss constitutional rights for freedom of speech regarding WBLAH’s refusal to air the commercial for the “Scantily Clad” Cardware line. Regulations for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will also be discussed to show the blurred areas with broadcasting when discussing content which may be deemed inappropriate, obscene, indecent or profane. Although, definitions for obscene, indecent and profane are clearly stated on the FCC website (https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/obscene-indecent-and-profane-broadcasts), there seems to be uncertainty when it comes to types of broadcasts, and ages exposed and how they are exposed to those broadcasts. Good!
Within the state of Texas, the Bill of Right protects individual rights which can be enforced by law. Since man’s moral perception differs for each other, the concept of natural rights comes with complications so the state as well as the country has set in place a social contract to remind us of the basic idea that the individual rights are valuable. Excellent!
“Freedom of Speech and Press; Libel. Every person shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions on any subject, being passed curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press.” (The Texas Constitution Article 1: Section 8).
Similarly, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. It also prohibits laws to establish a national religion, impede the free exercise of religion, abridge the freedom of speech, infringe on the freedom of press.
Constitutionally, broadcasts are always not to be prohibited. Congress has set restrictions on broadcast of indecent material during times which there is risk that children could be the audience which has been determined to be between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. According to the FCC, the First Amendment does not protect material that is obscene but does protect indecent and profane material to an extent as defined by the Commision.
Although, with these laws in place it may seem that Cardware’s freedom of speech rights are being curtailed the local station WBLAH is well within their right not to air the commercial. Laws do not require local stations to air all material submitted. In addition, local stations can impose their own specific requirement or restrictions. Since WBLAH stated they would not air the commercial due to the content and it was inappropriate for children, it should be determined if the Cardware’s commercial meets any criteria of being inappropriate.
The definition of “Scantily Clad” is wearing very little clothing therefore does not meet the criteria for being obscene, indecent or profane. Considering the name of the clothing line indicates there is clothing perhaps WBLAH may be persuaded to reconsider their own restrictions. Discussing details about the specific nature of the commercial content, the time of day it would broadcast and as well as the context may provide WBLAH with a greater understanding of the content. As well as expressing Cardware’s understanding that censorship is considered a staple in maintaining social standards. Good.
Commercials can be targeted to an audience of specific demographics such as age, gender, geographic location, income levels and interests. However, in the case of ACTION FOR CHILDREN TELEVISION V. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISION, Scalia, J. concurred, “parents, no matter how attentive, sincere or knowledgeable, are not in a position to really exercise effective control over what their children see on television”. The proceedings also discussed observations from a survey found that 54 percent of children out of 750 questioned had televisions in their own room and more then half watched television alone or with friends. The 1989 Notice of Inquiry studies described by the FCC suggested parents can exercise even less supervision today than 20 years ago. Excellent!
By FCC’s standards the content is appropriate since it does not meet the definition of being obscene, profane or indecent. In conclusion, Cardware’s commercial does not have any legal reason for not being aired. Although WBLAH is not legally obligated to air the commercial they see to be curtailing the freedom of speech since their decision seems based on their opinion of the commercial content being inappropriate.
Action for Children Television v. Federal Communications Commission. (n.d.).
The Constitution of The State of Texas: An Annotated and Comparative Analysis. (n.d.).
Retrieved October 24, 2018 from https://www.sll.texas.gov/assets/pdf/braden/04-article-i.pdfhttps://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/scantily%20clad
FCC and the Freedom of Speech (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2018 from
First Amendment and Censorship. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2018, from
Obscene, Indecent, and Profane Broadcast. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2018 from
Texas Constitution Article 1 Bill of Rights. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2018 from