Organization Criticizes Govt. Infringements on Cable

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Washington -- Cable suffered a setback in First Amendment
freedoms last year, and the federal government received poor marks for protecting
cable's interests, The Media Institute said in a report released last Wednesday.

"Once again, the administration and Congress did more
to weaken the First Amendment than to strengthen it," wrote Richard T. Kaplar, vice
president at The Media Institute.

Cable suffered a blow to its First Amendment privileges
when Congress decided that "must-carry rules are content-neutral and, thus, not an
unconstitutional infringement on cable operators' speech," Kaplar wrote.

The organization listed impediments that the government
tried to impose: "the television-program-ratings system, the scrambling requirement
for adult cable channels ... [and] the FCC's [Federal Communications Commission]
attempt to regulate liquor ads on TV."

The Media Institute is a nonprofit research foundation that
focuses on First Amendment protections. It is funded by media companies, foundations and
other donors.

States News Service