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ACLU Opposes Brownback Content Amendments

The American Civil Liberties Union has written the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee asking them to oppose a move by Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) to strengthen the FCC’s profanity-regulation powers and give it the ability to regulate violence.

In letters to committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) , the ACLU urged them to oppose two amendments Brownback plans to attach to an appropriations bill Thursday that would target indecency and violence.

“There are some things the government does well,” said the ACLU in the letter, “but deciding what is aired and when on television is not one of them.”

“Recent court decisions, ignored by the FCC in its report, clearly show that in light of the current technologies enabling parents to control content precisely and through a variety of mechanisms, the government will need to demonstrate a compelling basis before it can regulate media content. In addition, the means of regulation will have to be narrowly tailored,” it said.

“The most effective and most precise mechanisms are those already available to all parents. The power to control the upbringing of their children, including what they watch should remain in the most capable, effective, and constitutional hands possible: the parents.”

The bills are unlikely to make it onto the general appropriations bill, but ACLU isn't taking any chances.