Suggestion 1

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
7

Citizens concerned about pornography in their community can establish and maintain effective community action organizations.

Informed and vocal citizen action and community involvement are the cornerstones of an aggressive program for enforcement of obscenity laws. Presently some form of obscenity law exists at the federal level and in all but a few states. While there are some areas of the law in which this Commission has recommended change,[1633] the lack of prosecution of obscenity cases appears to be directly attributable to a failure of enforcement. Public expression of concern about pornography and a call for redoubled law enforcement efforts will undoubtedly trigger an increase in official action.

In organizing a plan of community action, a reasonable objective should be identified. This objective may take the form of increased prosecution, tougher sentencing or private action against merchants. Citizens should also acquaint themselves with the fundamental elements of obscenity law and the principal judicial decisions in this area. It is equally vital that concerned citizens work together to establish a community standard which reflects the collective view of the community.

Citizens can become effective advocates by acting as role models both within their families and their community. To this end, they can choose (1) not to consume pornography; (2) not to patronize individual businesses or corporations which produce, distribute or sell pornography, while patronizing those that do not; (3) to voice their concerns to other citizens and government officials about the pornography problem in their community; and (4) to organize with other concerned individuals toward a common goal.

In establishing and maintaining a community standard, citizens can engage in a variety of activities. Perhaps the best way to establish and maintain a community standard is through educational campaigns. These can take the form of letter writing campaigns, telephone banks, picketing and lawful boycotts. The end product of the information gathering and disseminating process should be the emergence of a solid collective community standard. It is important that in taking these actions citizens be respectful of the constitutional rights of persons or businesses engaged in the marketing of materials thought to be offensive by citizen group members.

Notes

  1. See, Recommendations for Law Enforcement Agencies in Chapter 10.