In 1984, Congress enacted the Cable Communications Policy Act to provide a national scheme for the regulation of cable television. Sections 531 and 532 of the Cable Act require cable operators to provide "leased access" to programmers who are unaffiliated with the cable operator. The cable operator has no editorial control over the programs. Instead, section 532(h) of the Act allows the franchising authority to restrict offensive programming. The section, however, has two serious flaws. First, the section's language ostensibly violates the overbreadth doctrine. Second, the section lacks procedures necessary to safeguard constitutionally protected expression. The section, therefore, arguably violates the first amendment.
Deborah L. Fowler,
Diverse Programming vs. Community Standards: The Constitutionality of Municipal Censorship of Leased Access Cable,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol27/iss2/9