Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Powell who remains in power continues to create a climate of fear:

WUNC-FM sponsor can't say 'rights'

...WUNC-FM recently informed Ipas, a Chapel Hill-based international women's rights and health organization, that the phrase "reproductive rights" in the group's on-air announcement could be interpreted as advocating a particular political position. The station required Ipas to use "reproductive health" instead.

WUNC made the change to avoid trouble with the Federal Communications Commission, general manager Joan Siefert Rose said. The FCC prohibits public radio stations from airing underwriting announcements that advocate political, social or religious causes.

"We can accept sponsorships and make announcements from advocacy groups, but we can't use advocacy language," Rose said. "Unfortunately, the FCC doesn't specify what that is. There's no list of forbidden terms. The only way to find out if you've stepped over the line is if someone challenges it and the FCC issues a fine. So we are always pretty conservative in interpreting the announcements we make." ...

--Raleigh News & Observer

So that's where we are: The law says you have rights, and the courts have upheld those rights, but all of this displeases the King, so we must not run afoul of his Information Minister.

By the way, do you think there'd need to be this level of fear if (hard as it is to imagine) a gun shop decided to underwrite this radio station and submitted a pitch with a reference to "Second Amendment rights"? At the very least, wouldn't there be conservatives howling "Censorship!" and demanding that the station reinstate the original language, an uprising that would almost certainly stay Powell's hand in the (unlikely) event that he'd been considering a fine?

(Link via BuzzFlash.)

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