Conservative Groups Battle FCC Regarding Indecency Standards

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Conservative groups, the Parents Television Council (PTC) and Morality in Media are combating the Federal Communication Commission’s efforts to more specifically define its power in regulating indecent content.

In April, the FCC issued a notice requesting comments from individuals and groups about perhaps raising the commission’s standards for fine-worthy ‘indecency’ on the airwaves. One topic up for debate, according to the notice, is for the FCC to focus more on ‘egregious’ cases, such as frequent swearing on television or radio shows, rather than the fleeting, slipped expletives during live broadcast shows.

More than 70 groups and individuals signed the letter urging Congress to block the FCC’s efforts.

According to the letter, the FCC’s proposal would “completely undermine” its responsibility to keep the airwaves clean by not spending as much effort fining networks for “fleeting expletives.” The letter also accused FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski of being “derelict” in his duty to upkeep existing indecency laws. Genachowski is expected to resign in the coming days because he has not issued any indecency fines during his four years as Chairman, which, as Genachowski claims, is due to the various lawsuits and free speech debates the FCC is currently sifting through.

Over the years, broadcasters on public airwaves have struggled to compete with cable networks, as cable channels do not fall under FCC jurisdiction. Despite the intentions of groups like the PTC and Morality in Media to clean up the airwaves to make them appropriate for kids, public airwave broadcasters’ ratings will likely continue to drop as more and more consumers simply flip to their cable channels.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, The Hill