Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Benjamin J. Bates

Committee Members

Barbara Moore, Catherine A. Luther, John M. Scheb II


The purpose of the dissertation was to analyze indecency policy and identify valid arguments and approaches from which one can find a viable model or approach of content regulation for both broadcast media and the Internet. Broadcast media and the Internet are both under scrutiny by the federal government for increased content regulation; therefore, both media are facing threatened First Amendments rights.

This dissertation explored whether the public interest could be best served through the marketplace approach to content regulation of indecent speech on broadcast radio and television and the Internet. The dissertation explored, compared, and contrasted indecency regulation on broadcast radio and television with indecency regulation on the Internet. It attempted to find trends, patterns, similarities, and differences in the mandated and suggested policies centering on regulating indecency on commercial broadcast radio and television and the Internet. The study also looked at the direction the legislative and judicial branches are going concerning policies on regulating indecent content on the Internet.

The dissertation found that the marketplace approach to indecency regulation has so far prevailed on the Internet, with the exception of CIPA. With emerging technologies such as Internet filters and V-Chips, further government regulation of indecent content on the Internet or on broadcast television and radio would be not be useful. A receiver-based content control approach proposed in the dissertation suggested that the marketplace approach to content regulation would better serve the public interest because the public’s interest would be defined by the public itself.

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