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Encyclopedia of Radio 3-Volume Set by Christopher H. Sterling

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OBSCENITY AND INDECENCY ON RADIO

Radio has long been considered a guest in the home or car, and so the medium has been constrained in the kinds of language broadcast. The original language of the Radio Act of 1927 (Sec. 29) indicated that “No person within the jurisdiction of the United States shall utter any obscene, indecent, or profane language by means of radio transmission.” However, it was not until 1948 that Congress put teeth into this provision by incorporating this prohibition into the criminal code (18 U.S.C.A. 1464). But does such a constraint violate First Amendment rights of free expression? And has the cultural climate of language usage changed since 1948? Do we know what constitutes obscene or indecent for everyone, or do ...

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