Since its inception in 1962, Morality in Media has also conducted a variety of public education activities designed to help citizens deal constitutionally with the threat of obscenity in their communities and the erosion of decency standards in the media. These activities include a public inquiry service (responding to requests from citizens for materials and assistance), operation of various websites, distribution of print publications, speaking engagements, the White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Campaign, and media interviews. Articles authored by MIM staff have also been published in newspapers, magazines, books, legal publications, and on the Internet. Below are other highlights from MIM’s work over the years.
July 2012 – Morality In Media reached 100,000 supporters on Facebook. In just two years, MIM developed a strong online presence through social media, websites, online advocacy efforts, distribution of graphics, videos and flyers, advertising and more. MIM grew it’s army of supporters 15 times over in just 18 months due to the increased visibility of this issue online. In addition, through these awareness efforts, MIM has connected hundreds of people with resources to help them overcome the harms of pornography that they are struggling with, as well as helped to educate thousands of parents about the dangers of pornography. MIM will continue to grow its online reach in years to come.
April – May 2012 – Morality In Media led a nation-wide boycott of coupon giant, Groupon, as a result of their selling tours of a torture-porn studio. 20,000 people participated, including major companies who pulled their ads. After just 6 weeks, Groupon announced that they no longer do business with pornographers. Details here.
February 2011 – August 2011 – After our Executive Director, Dawn Hawkins, witnessed a man viewing violent, pseudo-child pornography on a flight, Morality In Media launched an effort to make sure that all U.S. commercial airlines have policies in place prohibiting passengers from viewing pornography in-flight. All airlines except for American Airlines agreed to not only improve their policies to prohibit pornography during flights, but also to better train their flight staff on how to deal with such situations.
December 2011 – Present – MIM launched the Safe Schools, Safe Libraries Project, the goal of which is to get filters and no-porn policies in schools and public libraries. MIM empowers local leaders with the knowledge and help to get their local schools and libraries to improve their policies. In 2012, libraries in CO, WA, OR, TX, AL installed filters as a result of these efforts. Groups in Arizona led the charge to get state laws adopted that require libraries and schools to filter – this law passed unanimously. Currently, we are working with groups in OK and UT to improve state laws as well. In addition, as of February 2013, there are 170 local leaders working to get filters in their schools and libraries.
September 2011 – Morality In Media, with the help of its coalition, successfully got NBC to cancel the TV series “The Playboy Club” which glorified Playboy and the sexual objectification of women. MIM launched efforts for “Close The Club” in June 2011 with the announcement of the show debut that fall. MIM successfully got 4 of NBCs top 5 advertisers to refuse to place ads on the show and once the show launched, MIM got 12 of the shows advertisers to pull their ads. Low ratings and the loss of advertising forced NBC to pull the plug and cancel the show after just three episodes.
April – July 2011 – Got almost half of the U.S. Senate and many members of the House of Representatives to send a letter to U.S. Attorney General demanding enforcement of federal obscenity laws. This led to A.G. Holder being questioned in key committees in both the House and Senate about his refusal to enforce obscenity laws, as well as much more pressure on the U.S. Department of Justice.
2010 – Present – MIM launched www.PornHarmsResearch.com, a comprehensive website database containing 1,000+ peer-reviewed research articles, along with relevant news and opinion articles explaining the many consequences of pornography. The website is used by scholars, therapists and counselors, law enforcement, faith leaders, and my hundreds of concerned citizens. Much research exists today that shows the damage pornography has on marriage, relationships, children, the brain, sexual violence, etc. We encourage you to use this valuable tool to educate yourself and others about the harms of pornography.
2010 – Present – MIM launched the War on Illegal Pornography Coalition. A coalition of national, state and local organizations dedicated to bringing awareness to the harms of pornography and getting federal obscenity laws enforced. See www.WarOnIllegalPornography.com
2002 – 2010 – Launch of www.ObscenityCrimes.org Web site. In June 2002, MIM launched a new website, ObscenityCrimes.org, to provide citizens with a means online to report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws. Reports were forwarded by MIM to the U.S. Justice Department and to U.S. Attorneys nationwide. As of December 31, 2004, citizens submitted more than 49,000 reports. There was no comparable tool for filing obscenity complaints. The Justice Department publicly acknowledged the value of the site and encouraged people to submit possible violations through MIM; and in November 2004, Congress allocated $150,000 to help fund the project. Unfortunately, in 2008, when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder took over the U.S. Department of Justice all prosecutions of federal obscenity law violations completely stopped. Mr. Holder refuses to enforce the laws and disbanded the taskforce at the DOJ responsible for doing cases. As a result, MIM shut down the ObscenityCrimes.org website in 2010 and is now working to pressure the DOJ to enforce the laws once again.
2004 – 2008 – Team of FBI Agents assigned to work obscenity cases. In January 2004, MIM’s president and general counsel were invited to meet in Washington with FBI Director Robert Mueller to present MIM’s concerns about the FBI’s obscenity law enforcement policy. The invitation came in response to a letter that MIM had sent to Mr. Mueller expressing concern about statements made by FBI spokespersons indicating that the FBI didn’t investigate obscenity crimes. At the meeting, Mr. Mueller said he was assigning a team of agents to investigate obscenity crimes. This is important because U.S. Attorneys cannot initiate Internet obscenity prosecutions without investigations first being done by FBI agents.
2003 – Issuance of a Presidential Proclamation recognizing Protection from Pornography Week. In September 2003, MIM prepared and sent a letter, signed by 120 national, state and local leaders, to President Bush requesting him to speak out publicly about the need to enforce federal obscenity laws. A suggested Presidential Proclamation accompanied the letter. On October 25, 2003, President Bush issued a Presidential Proclamation in conjunction with Protection from Pornography Week, recognizing that pornography can have “debilitating effects on communities, marriages, families, and children” and expressing his support for “prosecutorial efforts to combat obscenity.”
2002 – 2004 – Sponsorship of opinion surveys showing strong support for obscenity law enforcement. In March 2002 and in March 2004, Wirthlin Worldwide conducted national surveys that included a question, at the request of MIM, about enforcement of federal Internet obscenity laws. In both surveys, more than 80% of adults expressed support for vigorous enforcement of these laws. These surveys call into question the frequently heard assertion that hardcore pornography has become acceptable in America.
2002 – Making it easier for citizens to file broadcast indecency complaints. In 2002, the FCC announced that citizens filing broadcast indecency complaints would no longer have to provide a tape or transcript of the program. Since most citizens aren’t taping programs when assaulted by indecent content, the old rule guaranteed that few complaints would be acted on. MIM led the fight for the policy change by calling public attention to the rule, submitting COMMENTS in FCC proceedings, and appeals to Congress. Restoring the right of cable TV operators to regulate indecency on “leased access” channels. In 1992, MIM’s legal department recommended to Congress that legislation be introduced to restore to cable TV operators the authority to regulate indecency on leased access channels. A provision of the Cable TV Act of 1992 enabled cable TV operators to do just that. The Supreme Court upheld the provision in 1996. The decision was the first to uphold a law regulating indecency on cable TV. Extending the ban on broadcast indecency from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court also declined to review a lower federal court decision that allowed the FCC to enforce the broadcast indecency law (18 USC 1464) between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., thus adding two “prime-time” hours to indecency enforcement. Previously, the FCC was enforcing the law only until 8 p.m. MIM led the fight for extending the enforcement hours by launching a national campaign that generated tens of thousands of letters, submitting COMMENTS in FCC proceedings, organizing a meeting between the U.S. Solicitor General’s office and decency group lawyers, and writing amicus briefs in Federal court cases.
1980s – 1990s – Establishment of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in the U.S. Justice Department. In 1983, MIM founder Fr. Morton A. Hill initiated a meeting in the White House between President Reagan and a group of national leaders concerned about the explosion of hardcore pornography. That meeting led to establishment of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in 1985 and to the establishment of an Obscenity Unit in 1987. During the Reagan and first Bush administrations, the Obscenity Unit (renamed the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section) had remarkable success in putting leading commercial hardcore pornographers out of business. That group, which our current President and CEO, Patrick Trueman, had the privilege of leading, won more than 120 convictions in 5 years, without loosing even one trial.
1984 – Extension of tough RICO penalties to obscenity violators. In 1984, MIM’s legal department recommended to Congress that legislation be introduced to make federal obscenity violations “predicate crimes” under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law. Enacted that year, the RICO-obscenity law allows the Government to confiscate the assets of convicted pornographers. The Supreme Court upheld the law, and many states have added obscenity offenses to their RICO laws.
1976 – 2011 – Establishment of the National Obscenity Law Center. 1976, Morality in Media launched the National Obscenity Law Center, a clearinghouse of legal information on obscenity and related law for prosecutors and other interested attorneys. Today, the NOLC has a library that includes all published obscenity cases, anti-pornography laws, and monographs on legal questions that are the subject of recurring inquiries. NOLC publications include the three-volume Obscenity Law Reporter, bi-monthly Obscenity Law Bulletin, and Handbook on the Prosecution of Obscenity Cases, by George M. Weaver, a former prosecutor in Atlanta. The NOLC also has its own Website pages; and in September 2004, the NOLC published online the first ten chapters of the Obscenity Law Reporter. The OLR is designed to save busy prosecutors hours and days of research when enforcing obscenity laws.
1970s – Preserving Federal and State obscenity laws against a sweeping repeal attempt in the 1970s. In 1968, Fr. Hill (who served as MIM’s president from1962-1985) was appointed by President Johnson to serve on the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. The Commission issued its report in 1970, recommending that adult obscenity laws be repealed. In what became known as the Hill-Link Minority Report, Fr. Hill and another commissioner dissented, calling the report a “Magna Carta for the pornographer.” The President and Senate also rejected the majority’s recommendation, and in 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court referred to the Hill-Link Minority Report while upholding obscenity laws.
1960s-1980s – Assisting state and local governments. MIM has helped draft and amend numerous state and local obscenity and related laws, including state laws in Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Over the years MIM has frequently played a pivotal role in many law related victories that have made a difference for the better at the Federal, State and local levels. These include:
- Pressuring the U.S. Justice Department to resume enforcement of Federal obscenity laws
- Enactment of a Federal law extending RICO penalties to obscenity crimes
- Issuance of a Presidential Proclamation supporting obscenity law enforcement
- Enactment of a U.S. Senate Resolution supporting obscenity law enforcement
- Enactment of numerous state and local anti-pornography laws
- Pressuring the FCC to resume enforcement of the broadcast indecency law
- Making it easier for citizens to file broadcast indecency complaints
- Extending the broadcast indecency ban by two prime-time hours, to 10 p.m.
- Enactment of indecency controls on leased-access cable TV channels
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