Public Policy, Censorship, and First Amendment Issues

  • Christopher J. Ferguson
Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)


Politicians and advocacy groups concerned about media effects have often turned toward legislation and other public policy efforts to combat what they feel are pernicious public health concerns. This chapter details efforts to curtail, regulate, or censor media, particularly in industrialized democratic nations which have to balance such efforts against free speech concerns. In many cases, proponents of regulation or censorship distort or exaggerate the evidence for media effects to promote an atmosphere of fear conducive to support of legislation. However, across the twentieth century, the general trend in public policy has gradually favored freedom of speech and become increasingly critical of arguments for media effects. These issues and trends are discussed within this chapter.


Video Game Federal Communication Commission Liberal Democracy Free Speech Child Pornography 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Brown v EMA. (2011). Retrieved July 1, 2011, from
  2. Denniston, L. (2010a). Argument preview: Kids and video games. SCOTUSBlog. Retrieved July 5, 2011, from
  3. Denniston, L. (2010b). Argument recap: “Common sense” and violence. SCOTUSBlog. Retrieved July 5, 2011, from
  4. ESA, VSDA and IRMA v. Blagojevich, Madigan and Devine. (2005). Case No. 05 C 4265.Google Scholar
  5. Federal Communications Commission. (2007). In the matter of violent television programming and it is impact on children. Retrieved September 18, 2012, from
  6. Federal Communications Commission v Fox Televisions Stations. (2009). Retrieved September 21, 2012, from
  7. Federal Communications Commission v Fox Televisions Stations. (2012). Retrieved September 21, 2012, from
  8. Federal Trade Commission. (2009). Marketing violent entertainment to children. Retrieved March 14, 2010, from
  9. Freedman, J. (2002). Media violence and its effect on aggression: Assessing the scientific evidence. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hall, R., Day, T., & Hall, R. (2011). Reply to Murray et al. (2011) and Ferguson (2011). Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 86(6), 821–823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2004). Parents, media and public policy: A Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Retrieved September 18, 2012, from ­­Media-and-Public-Policy-A-Kaiser-Family-Foundation-Survey-Report.pdf
  12. Morse v Frederick. (2007). 551 US 393. Retrieved September 26, 2012, from http://www.­
  13. Pollard Sacks, D., Bushman, B. J., & Anderson, C. A. (2011). Do violent video games harm children? Comparing the scientific amicus curiae “experts” in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, 106, 1–12.Google Scholar
  14. Poniewozak, J. (2008). The decency police. Time. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from,9171,1039700,00.html
  15. Tassi, P. (2010, December). Roger Ebert thinks the MPAA’s ratings are useless. Retrieved September 11, 2012, from
  16. Thompson, K., & Yakota, F. (2004). Violence, sex and profanity in films: Correlation of movie ratings with content. Medscape General Medicine, 6(3), 3. Retrieved September 11, 2012, from
  17. United States v Stevens. (2010). Retrieved July 5, 2011, from
  18. VSDA and ESA v Schwarzenegger. (2009). Retrieved July 1, 2011, from ­

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Ferguson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesTexas A&M International UniversityLaredoUSA

Personalised recommendations