Irvine, CA–The Federal Communications Commission has slammed the Hispanic-television network Univision with an unprecedented $24 million fine after the FCC decided it failed to meet regulations requiring broadcasters to air at least three hours a week of educational children’s programming. Univision points to several shows it says fulfill the requirement, but the FCC denies the shows are truly educational.

“This fine is an outrageous violation of Univision’s right to free speech,” said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. “Broadcasters should be free to determine what shows they will air without having to answer to government bureaucrats.

“If parents desire educational programming for their children and they do not think Univision is providing it, they are free to turn the channel, play a DVD, switch on the radio or open a book. There is no justification for forcing broadcasters to meet a quota for ‘educational children’s programming.’

“But these quotas do not simply undermine free speech. The guidelines defining what qualifies as ‘educational’ programming are so vague, so inconsistently interpreted and applied that broadcasters have no means of knowing whether their actions will be permitted or punished–until the FCC hands down its verdict. In forcing broadcasters, under threat of crippling fines, to guess which programs a pack of regulators will deem ‘educational,’ these quotas represent an assault on the rule of law. They should be condemned as such.”

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