as a theater showing only films of "aesthetic, artistic or educational merit".)
These allegations are highly speculative. In order to find allegations of factually specific injury, the Court would be forced to make several assumptions concerning the reaction of the public to the listing of plaintiffs in the dissemination reports. First, the Court would have to assume that the public would react negatively to a film labelled "political propaganda" despite the neutral definition of the term provided in the FARA. See 22 U.S.C. § 611(j). Additionally, the Court would have to assume that this "negative reaction" would cause potential audience members to discount the films' messages or avoid the films completely.
Finally, the court would have to assume that the public will lose respect for the plaintiffs because they chose to show the movies, even though it is clear that the FARA does not, on its face denigrate the "aesthetic, artistic or educational merits" of the films.
The Court cannot make such assumptions for the plaintiffs in the absence of any facts tending to show that such fears are concrete or likely to materialize as actual injury. See Winpisinger v. Watson, 202 U.S. App. D.C. 133, 628 F.2d 133 (D.C. Cir. 1980). Plaintiffs have failed to allege any facts showing any damage to their respective reputations. Although Plaintiff Block claims that several callers have expressed the view that his company is "communist," nothing the government has said or done can reasonably be interpreted to lead to that conclusion. In addition the Court cannot find any evidence in the record of any potential viewer or customer of the plaintiffs who has refused or will refuse to deal with the plaintiffs because of their acceptance or potential acceptance of the films.
The injury is not only speculative, but in all likelihood, non-existent. This case is unlike the case of Lamont v. Postmaster General, 381 U.S. 301, 14 L. Ed. 2d 398, 85 S. Ct. 1493 (1965) where individuals were required to fill out a card requesting that information determined to be " communist political propaganda" be sent to them. The term "communist" is a word that is commonly deemed to be characteristic of un-American or anti-democratic conduct. "Political propaganda" is a term that can refer to both American and foreign advocacy of a particular viewpoint. One who exhibits materials that have not been clearly pejoratively labelled is not injured by the compilation of a list of such exhibitors by the federal government.
2. The "Political Propaganda" Classification
Plaintiffs have alleged that the Department of Justice's classification of the films as "political propaganda" under 22 U.S.C. § 611(j) has deterred members of plaintiffs' audiences from viewing the films and has "denigrated" the film's message thereby restricting the free flow of information protected by the First Amendment. Plaintiffs' Memorandum at p. 8. The term "political propaganda" is defined in the FARA, and it is a fundamental cannon of statutory construction that " unless otherwise defined, words will be interpreted as taking their ordinary, contemporary, common meaning." Perrin v. United States, 444 U.S. 37, 42, 62 L. Ed. 2d 199, 100 S. Ct. 311 (1979). In this case, the term is otherwise defined and the court must therefore defer to the neutral, non-pejorative definition contained in the FARA.
The Court wishes to recognize, however, a point raised by Judge Ramirez in the Eastern District of California. In Keene v. Smith, 569 F. Supp. 1513 (1983), Judge Ramirez noted that "it may be beyond the power of Congress to determine, for example, that all materials addressing public policy issues and originating from foreign sources shall hereinafter be called 'poison' . . ." Id. at slip op. 20. Recognizing that such labelling may be inappropriate given the clear negative connotations to the word "poison", and given the Court's obligation to subject statutes implicating First Amendment rights with "exacting scrutiny", Landmark Communications, Inc. v. Virginia, 435 U.S. 829, 56 L. Ed. 2d 1, 98 S. Ct. 1535 (1978), the Court will briefly examine the purpose of the FARA in order to determine whether the act was designed to impose negative connotations on the materials so as to deter audience viewing. With such a finding, the allegations of government action in this case could be enough to find standing.
In Attorney General v. Irish People, Inc., 221 U.S. App. D.C. 406, 684 F.2d 928 (D.C. Cir. 1982), the D.C. Circuit extensively reviewed the caselaw and legislative history of the FARA. The Court quoted the Supreme Court decision in Viereck v. United States, 318 U.S. 236, 87 L. Ed. 734, 63 S. Ct. 561 (1943):
As the House and Senate Committees considering the bill said, it "does not in any way impair the right of freedom of speech, or of a free press, or other constitutional rights." Resting on the fundamental constitutional principle that our people, adequately informed, may be trusted to distinguish between the true and the false, the bill is intended to label information of foreign origin so that hearers and readers may not be deceived by the belief that the information comes from a disinterested source. Such legislation implements rather than detracts from the prized freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.