Alcohol, Censorship, and Free Speech

A new federal law prohibits all state and local grants (although paid entirely by state and local taxes) that allow citizens to post ads or announcements in buses, trains and subways that support reforming current alcohol and drug laws. Under the new law, announcements that were earlier used to inform the public about current policies and possible reforms are no longer permitted.

The federal government wants to run its own campaign supporting the status quo and it wants to do so while prohibiting conflicting information from citizen groups. Thus, it is censoring them in order to create a near-monopoly on public information.

However, “The government can’t spend taxpayer money promoting one side of the drug policy debate while prohibiting taxpayers from using their own money to promote the other side,” says Bill Piper, associate director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. The organization is asking Congress to remove the anti-free speech provision from the bill.


  • Zombolas, N. New bill to ban drug advertisements: Congress Censors Drug Ads. Daily Illini, 1-30-04.