I heart Free Speech

What a concept… The National Cable Television Association announced that it will “provide free equipment to allow subscribers to block unwanted channels”. Here are some details:

The offer is directed to about half the nation’s 70.5 million cable subscribers who don’t have cable boxes that can be programmed to block certain channels or programs. The companies agreeing to the plan include the 10 largest in the country and reach 85 percent of all cable subscribers.

Self-regulation can work. As I’ve suggested, if someone doesn’t like what their children are watching, turn it off. I should’ve gone the extra step and instructed people to block “offending” channels through their cable box. If someone has digital cable, their cable box has the capability to block channels. It’s not hard and everyone’s rights are protected.

Along those lines, consider this:

“No one wants policy-makers to have to choose between protecting children or preserving the First Amendment,” [NCTA president Robert] Sachs told the Cable Television Public Affairs Association. “So if we, as an industry, actively promote the choices and controls available to consumers, there will be no need for anyone to do so.”

Addressing such an idea, consider this:

The cable industry also launched a new Web site, www.controlyourtv.org, which includes instructions on how parents can use the V-chip in televisions built in 2000 and later to block both broadcast and cable programs. The V-chip works with a voluntary industry ratings system.

“This is what we think is the best method of addressing all those concerns,” [Cable association spokesman Rob] Stoddard said. “It leaves the power in the hands of the cable subscriber.”

Naturally, even if the cable industry didn’t do this, there is little that Congress can do. The cable industry is a private broadcast network, so the “protecting the public airwaves” nonsense spewed by Congress is irrelevant. Any attempt to regulate it is a clear violation of the First Amendment, not supported by court rulings.

Self-regulation instead of illegal government intervention is an amazing concept.

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