Using examples, explain the difference between obscene and indecent materials.
The difference between obscene and indecent material is the fact that obscene material can be banned, and indecent material need not necessarily be banned. This is because, according the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, indecent material can be broadcast at certain hours while keeping safeguarding the interests of the people (Silver, 2008). Indecent material is that which depicts “nonconformance with accepted standards of morality” (Silver, 2008). For instance, if an advertisement is indecent and is broadcast during the daytime, children might be inadvertently exposed to it. The Supreme Court defines obscene material as follows:
(a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. (Silver, 2008)
An example of an indecent advertisement can be any of the various condom advertisements, which generally have sexual connotations. While, the advertisements are often relevant to the product, they can be seen by children, who must be safeguarded from such content. An example of an obscene advertisement that would be absolutely banned would be one that depicts or discusses child pornography in an unacceptable manner, or shows intercourse with penetration. Obscene material is definitely regarded to be more offensive than indecent material, which can be found to be relevant and aired in certain defined hours of the day.
Explain the difference between the Equal Opportunities Rule and the Fairness Doctrine.
According to the Equal Opportunities Rule, the broadcast stations, for both radio and television, have to give an equal chance to opposing views, such as two competing political candidates when they request to present their opinions to the public (FCC, 2011). Thus, if one legally appointed candidate has had one hour to discuss his viewpoint, the other candidate must also be given one hour to present his viewpoint (FCC, 2011). The Fairness Doctrine was initiated by the Federal Communications Commission since the Radio Act of 1927 and put into action in 1949 (Mattews, 2011), and it mandated that the broadcasting bodies must be given a license only when they depict or discuss controversial topics that can impact the public, so that the latter can form an opinion based on honest and balanced facts, that is, only when public interest is served can the broadcasting station get a license (Matthews, 2011). Thus, unlike the Fairness Doctrine, which mandated broadcasters to present opposing views without any defined boundaries, that is, it required that the opposing candidate be given a reasonable opportunity to present views, the Equal Opportunities Rule demands that opposing viewpoints must be given equal opportunities of presentation. The Equal Opportunities Rule is functional, while the Fairness Doctrine has been eliminated from the constitution since 1987, since after the lawsuit of Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. vs. Federal Communications Commission and the First Amendment jurisprudence questioned the freedom of speech given to the broadcasting companies (FCC, 2011; Mattews, 2011). Thus, while the Fairness Doctrine focused on giving the public or the audience a large variety of options so that they could draw an independent and unbiased opinion on a matter of public interest, the Equal Opportunities Rules also considered the rights of the broadcasters and the people presenting the opposing viewpoints more efficiently.
Mattews, D. (August 23, 2011). Accessed on 13 September, 2011http://corporate.findlaw.com/litigation-disputes/movie-day-at-the-supreme-court-or-i-know-it-when-i-see-it-a.html#edn10.
FCC (Federal Communications Commission). (June 1, 2011). Accessed on 13 September, 2011. http://www.fcc.gov/guides/program-content-regulations.