Redstone Raps Indecency Regulation
October 17, 2006 at 6:15 AM (PT)
CBS CORP. and VIACOM Chairman SUMNER REDSTONE ripped the government's indecency crackdown as putting the news and entertainment industries in "a great deal of fear" in remarks to the MEDIA INSTITUTE MONDAY night. REDSTONE, who was given the organization's First Amendment Award, said that "increasingly and alarmingly, a couple thousand form complaints from people condemning shows that they have never watched can result in an indecency fine 10 times higher than a year ago. In a world where these same form complaints can lead regulators to dictate business models that ultimately do more harm than good."
Recommending letting consumers make their own choices by choosing to watch and listen to what they want and turn off what they don't, and admitting that he "never did get" his own MTV network's "BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD" and PARAMOUNT/MTV's "JACKASS NUMBER TWO," REDSTONE remarked, "Give the government the tools to punish those it doesn't like or silence what it doesn't want to hear, and you undermine democracy. Give people the tools to choose what they see and hear, and you enhance democracy."
REDSTONE's remarks came as new FCC Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL, keynoting the event, warned the industry that "government is going to fill the vacuum" if private industry "solutions" to indecency aren't reached.