FCC Considering Dropping Nudity and Profanity Ban on Television
The FCC implements its profanity policy by heavily fining networks that break the rules. They are continually challenged by the networks they fine, but usually the networks have to pay up.
Two incidences, including one where Nicole Richie cursed during an awards ceremony on Fox and a scene showing a woman and child's buttocks on ABC's NYPD Blue, were dismissed by the Supreme Court.
The infamous incident involving Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl was also dismissed, after the FCC tried to fine CBS for $550,000.
Other than that, challenges to the fines are normally disregarded.
They are allowed to fine broadcasters who violate the rules up to $325,000 per incident. This includes showing nudity or using profanity between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
But because their rules are so broad, they have been suffering from a backlog of obscenity reports and have only been able to tackle the larger violations.
They've ignored more than one million reports of obscenity and are focusing only on "egregious cases," allowing their case load to drop by 70 percent.
Now, they are considering changing their policy on nudity and profanity.
"We now seek comment on whether the full Commission should make changes to its current (egregious cases) broadcast indecency policies or maintain them as they are," they said.
They are also asking if they should "treat isolated (non-sexual) nudity the same as or differently than isolated expletives."
Many people in the television industry have criticized the FCC for being inconsistent over the years, allowing movies like Schindler's List to include nudity but fining other shows or movies that show similar nude scenes.
President of the American Family Association, Tim Wildmon, said he hopes that they do not loosen up their guidelines as he fears for the children and families of America.
"We're urging the FCC to uphold high decency standards in entertainment in order to protect America's children and families," he said.