The common censorship laws passed in the U.S. should be understood in the context of the generally wide latitude allowed for freedom of expression in the country through the avenue of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. As such, censorship is not as widely applied in the U.S. as it is in other countries, but the country’s legal system still allows for more concerted censorship laws to be applied in instances where other considerations are deemed more important than the rights to self-expression of the individuals involved. As such, some censorship laws are administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prevent “indecent” content from being broadcast on “free” airwaves.
Civil censorship offenses can be committed by defendants found to have committed libel or slander. Censorship might also be carried out, in the specific instance of a judicial proceeding, through the issuance of a gag order and against pornography considered “obscene” rather than simply “indecent.”