The U.S. Supreme Court, overturning a federal law banning "indecent" speech on the Internet today, criticized bans on speech that are justified as a means to protect children from harm. The court ruled that speech restrictions impairing the rights of adults to communications must be very narrowly tailored or they are unconstitutional. The decision said the law under review, the Communications Decency Act, would prevent adults from getting messages and open up the possibility of prosecuting parents who send their kids information on birth control. Critics of ads for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages have said curbs on such commercial speech are required to protect children from harm.
Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.