Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, September 20, 2013

An Increase in Indecency?

The Federal Communications Commission, the FCC, is considering lighter enforcement of its decency regulations for network television. They say they only want to pursue “egregious violations” of the current code. If they go ahead with this plan, foul language will be permitted on network TV at any time as long as it’s “isolated.” Nudity will be all right as well, as long as it too is “isolated” and “non-sexual”—whatever that means. The FCC says that its intention is for networks not to have to worry about being fined if the host swears once during a live show or if there is another incident like Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl.

The FCC has been flooded with complaints from the public about the new policy, but it appears that the FCC is more interested in pleasing the networks. TV networks complain that formats such as cable and Netflix have more freedom than they do and that the competition is too difficult. They want the freedom to broadcast any form of indecency at any time without penalties. The National Association of Broadcasters has argued that children already have access to nudity and bad language online, where they supposedly watch whatever they want without parent supervision. That’s news to all the parents who do, in fact, carefully limit and supervise their child’s internet usage.

If the FCC goes ahead with this policy, the networks will be falling all over themselves to test the new rules. It will be a race to see how much they can get away with, so you can be sure that the resulting foul language and nudity won’t be “isolated” at all. The deliberate vagueness of the standards means that there will essentially be no standards. Parents, you may want to add your voice to the long list of complaints to the FCC before this new plan becomes reality.

Listen to the radio commentary here:



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