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Disney Isn't Pushing Cable Smut Regs - Broadcasting & Cable

Disney Isn't Pushing Cable Smut Regs

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The Walt Disney Co. is not -- repeat, not -- advocating extending indecency regulation to cable and satellite, executive vice president of government relations Preston Padden said pointedly Friday.

On Capitol Hill to appear at a Progress and Freedom Foundation panel on indecency and Congress' role, Padden emphasized that point by putting up a placard in front of his place to that effect.

Padden said that the logical extension of Disney's argument that basic cable and satellite should be on the same regulatory footing is that the FCC's indecency standard is not valid for either, not that it should be applied to both.

He pointed to the Supreme Court's decision in the Playboy case as the strongest support for his argument of relative regulatory freedom. The court said that the key difference between cable and broadcast was the availability of  technology that allows cable subscribers to block unwanted channels.

With 85% of TV stations delivered to the home via cable, said Padden, and every new TV set now required to include the V-Chip blocking technology, the blocking distinction is one without a difference, he said.

"We are arguing for constitutional parity," he said. "We believe that if the presence of blocking capability makes it not constitutional to regulate cable, the same conclusion must apply to broadcasting."

On the other side, he said, if the Supreme Court's pervasiveness argument for regulating broadcasting still applied, it should also apply to cable and satellite, which are now as pervasive as when the court handed down that decision in the 1960's.

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