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January 18, 2020

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Photo by: Gary L. Gehman
The FCC Crackdown on Indecency
Last Featured: 5/22/2006

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Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

The Federal Communications Commission has recently imposed record fines against television networks for airing indecent programming before 10 p.m. CBS stations face a $3.6 million fine for airing a reenactment of a teen orgy in “Without a Trace.” PBS got fined for explicit language in an acclaimed series about blues music. But the FCC’s actions raise serious questions about what is indecent and the limits of the First Amendment. Join us for this week’s Justice Talking as we ask whether government efforts to police the airwaves violate free speech or are necessary to protect young viewers from harmful programming.

The Stories of Two Mothers
Host Margot Adler speaks with an aggrieved mother attempting to protect her child from language and behavior she deems inappropriate and a PBS station manager caught in the middle over what's permissible and what's offensive - and what's documentary.

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Interview with Robert Hilliard
Host Margot Adler speaks with professor and author Robert Hilliard about the history of the FCC and its oversight on the media.

Robert Hilliard is dean of continuing education at Emerson College and a former dean of graduate studies. Dr. Hilliard teaches courses such as Media Programming, The Media and the Holocaust, Hate.com, Communication Law, and Pictures of Protest. He was formerly chief of the public broadcasting branch of the Federal Communications Commission and chair of the Federal Interagency Media Committee for the White House. A frequent lecturer on media and education on all continents, Dr. Hilliard is the author of more than 30 books on communication, including (with Michael C. Keith) Dirty Discourse: Sex and Indecency in American Radio.

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Debate on the Issue
Parents Television Council director Tim Winter debates First Amendment advocate David Greene over broadcast indecency--what's OK to air on network TV and radio?

Timothy F. Winter is executive director for the Parents Television Council, with more than twenty years' experience in broadcasting and cable television. Prior to joining the PTC, Winter founded and ran Desktop.TV, Inc., a media company delivering cable TV over the Internet, was president and chief operating officer at FasTV, Inc., another Internet media company, and was executive director of finance and business development for Metro-Goldwyn Mayer's Interactive Division.

David Greene is executive director and staff counsel to the First Amendment Project. He has significant experience litigating First Amendment issues in state and federal courts and is one of the country's leading advocates for and commentators on freedom of expression in the arts. Greene is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and an instructor at San Francisco State University. He was a founding member of the Internet Free Expression Alliance and has written and lectured extensively on free expression and the arts.

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Interview with FCC Commissioner Adelstein
Host Margot Adler talks with FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein about the role government regulation plays in what you can and can't hear on the radio or see on your television.

Jonathan S. Adelstein was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission in 2002 and returned in 2004. During the spring of 2003, Mr. Adelstein and fellow Commissioner Michael Copps led a grassroots effort to bring FCC media ownership deregulation to the attention of millions of Americans. Before joining the FCC, Adelstein served for fifteen years as a staff member in the United States Senate.

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Interview with a Filmmaker
Host Margot Adler has a delicate discussion with Steve Anderson, the director of a film whose title we can't say on the radio.

Steve Anderson made his feature film writing and directing debut with "The Big Empty," which premiered at the 2003 American Film Institute Film Festival. A Peabody Award-winning cameraman, Anderson has shot seven national documentaries for PBS and thousands of hours of broadcast television. He’s been charged by lions on the Serengeti Plain, been rattled homeless by an earthquake, been blessed by Mother Teresa and chased O.J. up the freeway.

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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
Title 18, U.S. Code § 1464 Federal penalties for broadcasting obscene matter.
Federal Communications Commission
First Amendment Center
Morality in Media
FCC's Parents' Place: Obscene & Indecent Broadcasts
American Civil Liberties Union : Free Speech
Parents Television Council
Free Speech Coalition
Common Sense Media
Censorship, Inc.: The Corporate Threat to Free Speech
by Lawrence C. Soley
Obscenity and Pornography Decisions of the United States Supreme Court
by Maureen Harrison (Editor), Steve Gilbert (Editor)
Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America
by Jesse Walker
Saving Our Children from the First Amendment
by Kevin W. Saunder
Regulation of the Entertainment Industry
The FCC's New Rules for Media Ownership
Pornography and the First Amendment