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FEPP Archives - Issues - Media Policy:
Media Literacy & Media Democracy


White Paper To The National Research Council: Identifying What Is Harmful or Inappropriate for Minors
(March 5, 2001) - Have adverse effects from pornography been scientifically identified? Or is the issue essentially one of morality and socialization of youth? This White Paper, submitted to the National Research Council's Committee on "Tools and Strategies for Protecting Kids from Pornography and Their Applicability to Other Inappropriate Internet Content," points out that there are non-censorial approaches to concerns about kids' access to pornography - such as media literacy and comprehensive sexuality education. On May 2, 2002, the NRC released a 402-page report that largely agreed with FEPP's White Paper. Click here for a summary.

Not In Front of the Children: "Indecency," Censorship, and The Innocence Of Youth
(2001, 2d edition 2007) - From Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter, Internet filters to the v-chip, censorship is often based on the assumption that children and adolescents must be protected from "indecent" information - whether in art, in literature, or on a Web site. In Not In Front of the Children, FEPP Director Marjorie Heins explores the fascinating history of indecency laws and other censorship aimed at youth. Not in Front of the Children won the 2002 American Library Association's Eli M. Oboler Award for the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom.

Scholars Ask American Academy of Pediatrics to Reconsider Misstatements About Media Violence
(2001-02) - FEPP and a group of media scholars asked the American Academy of Pediatrics to reconsider its November 2001 Policy Statement on Media Violence because of its "many misstatements about social-science research on media effects." The AAP responded, but refused to allow its letter to be published.

Comments Submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): Internet Protection Measures and Safety Policies
(August 26, 2002) - FEPP's White Paper to the NTIA, outlining the serious educational problems that are inherent in Internet filtering technology, and suggesting more effective ways of addressing concerns about minors' access to the wide variety of content on the World Wide Web. The agency's report, released in August 2003, recognized the limits of filtering technology as a response to concerns about minors' Web surfing, but it also read like a sales pitch for filter manufacturers. See Government Report a Sales Pitch for Internet Filters.

Corporate Censorship and Media Democracy: A Report on the ACME Summit
(November 2002) - Stephanie Elizondo Griest reports on a major meeting of media democracy and media literacy activists in October 2002, and on the ways that consolidation in the media industry threatens free expression.


The Strange Case of Sarah Jones
(January 24, 2003; updated February 20, 2003) - Where does the federal government get the power to ban a feminist rap poem?

"Your Revolution" is Not "Indecent" After All
(February 20, 2003) - Under pressure from a lawsuit by the feminist rapper Sarah Jones, the FCC changed its mind and ruled Jones's powerful rap poem is not indecent after all.

More Than Seven Dirty Words
(August 4, 2003) - The FCC's threat to revoke broadcast licenses because of vulgar radio content focuses on a truly gross call-in show describing such bizarre sexual practices as "the Rusty Trombone," but the broader issue is the unconstitutionality of the agency's vague "indecency" standard.

The Media Democracy Movement Goes to Madison
(November 14, 2003) - A report from the front lines on the November 2003 media reform conference, the movement behind it, and the need to end corporate domination of public discourse.

Media Democracy and the First Amendment
(November 14, 2003) - Why government regulation to break up media conglomerates advances democracy and the First Amendment.


What is the Fuss About Janet Jackson's Breast?
(February 3, 2004) - How do mini-culture wars get started, when there are so many more pressing issues on the public-policy agenda?

Disney and Corporate Censorship
(May 21, 2004) - What's the real problem with the Walt Disney Company's refusal to distribute Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11?

Comments to the Federal Communications Commission in the Matter of Digital Audio Broadcasting Systems
(June 16, 2004) - The Brennan Center Free Expression Policy Project joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in comments to the FCC opposing the the record industry's request for a mandated technology protection measure that would prevent home copying of digital radio broadcasts. Such home copying is specifically protected by federal law and is also probably "fair use" under our copyright system.

Structural Free Expression Issues
(September 10, 2004) - How the copyright system, media regulation, and government funding affect free speech.

Comments to the FCC on Broadcast Localism
(November 1, 2004) - The Brennan Center for Justice, the Consumer Federation of America, and 30 other organizations urged the agency responsible for regulating the public airwaves to repair the lack of localism and diversity in commercial broadcasting by providing more opportunities for independent community-oriented nonprofit media.


The Free Expression Policy Project began in 2000 as a project of the National Coalition Against Censorship, to provide empirical research and policy development on tough censorship issues and seek free speech-friendly solutions to the concerns that drive censorship campaigns. In 2004-2007, it was part of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Past funders have included the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Open Society Institute, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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