Newspaper Associations Question Constitutionality of Alcohol Ad Warning Labels
Gersh, Debra, Editor & Publisher
PROPOSED LEGISLATION requiring warning labels on all advertising for alcoholic beverages may be "constitutionally suspect," according to two newspaper associations.
In comments filed with a U.S. Senate committee contemplating the issue, the Newspaper Association of America and the National Newspaper Association noted, "Laws that force the press to bear the burden of enforcing government legislation impermissibly infringe upon the freedom of the press?'
The newspaper associations also pointed to U.S. Supreme Court decisions holding that "truthful advertising relating to lawful activities or products is entitled to First Amendment protections."
The NAA and NNA comments were filed following a recent hearing on S.647, the Sensible Advertising and Family Education (SAFE) Act before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (E&P, May 22, P. 28). It is not unusual for those who do not testify to file comments with a committee after a hearing.
"It is highly questionable public policy for Congress to use restrictions on protected speech as a shortcut attempt to remedy alcohol abuse problems," the NAA and NNA commented. …