cover of book

The Indecent Screen: Regulating Television in the Twenty-First Century
by Cynthia Chris
Rutgers University Press, 2019
Paper: 978-0-8135-9406-4 | Cloth: 978-0-8135-9407-1 | eISBN: 978-0-8135-9409-5
Library of Congress Classification KF2840.C48 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 343.7309946


The Indecent Screen explores clashes over indecency in broadcast television among U.S.-based media advocates, television professionals, the Federal Communications Commission, and TV audiences. Cynthia Chris focuses on the decency debates during an approximately twenty-year period since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which in many ways restructured the media environment. Simultaneously, ever increasing channel capacity, new forms of distribution, and time-shifting (in the form of streaming and on-demand viewing options) radically changed how, when, and what we watch. But instead of these innovations quelling concerns that TV networks were too often transmitting indecent material that was accessible to children, complaints about indecency skyrocketed soon after the turn of the century. Chris demonstrates that these clashes are significant battles over the role of family, the role of government, and the value of free speech in our lives, arguing that an uncensored media is so imperative to the public good that we can, and must, endure the occasional indecent screen. 

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