Differences in Free Speech Rights in Broadcast Media vs. Print Media

By Erik Hinch

Broadcast media and print media have different rules for what they can and can’t do/say. There are federal restrictions on certain words that can be said in a TV show or radio program. They also can’t show things like nudity on TV either.  Many of these things are swear words.  If channels/stations refuse to follow these guidelines, they can be fined, or worse, they can lose their license to broadcast, which essentially shuts them down. For print media, like newspapers, they’re really not supposed to print things along those lines as well.  However, some poeple still do it.  They can also get into trouble for printing things like that.


This article here shows that Howard Stern, a popular radio personality, was actually taken off the air for refusing to abide by these guidelines.  Apparently, during his show, he had a caller on, and that caller used the N-Word, which is obviously a harsh racial slur, and is not acceptable. Clear Channel, the company that runs the station, refused to put him back on the air until he agrees to follow the guidelines as they see fit.


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