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Press Release

PTC Joins 75-Member Coalition in Calling on Congress to Oppose FCC Indecency Proposal

Release Date: 5/8/2013

LOS ANGELES (May 8, 2013) – The Parents Television Council®, along with a 75-member coalition representing millions of Americans, sent a letter to members of the U. S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the U. S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, urging them to oppose the FCC’s proposed changes to weaken enforcement of the well-established broadcast indecency law.

“We are calling on Members of Congress with oversight of the FCC to protect enforcement of the broadcast indecency law. The FCC’s proposal to weaken the law’s enforcement by applying it only to ‘egregious’ violations is absurd, and it must be defeated,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“In American jurisprudence, the scale of egregiousness for a violation of the law serves to determine the consequence for the violation. It does not define whether the law has been broken. The FCC should act consistent with legal doctrine. If a broadcaster violates the law, then the egregious nature of that violation should help the FCC to determine an appropriate sanction – period.

“It is high time for the FCC to do its job and protect children and families from indecent content on TV and radio. No more excuses.”

The letter is written as follows:

We are writing with great concern to request that you use your position and influence in an effort to get the Federal Communications Commission to take seriously its duty to enforce federal law, 18 U. S. C. 1464, limiting indecency and profanity on the publicly owned airwaves to times of day when children are much less likely to be in the audience. The FCC has been derelict in this regard under the leadership of its current Chairman Julius Genachowski, having executed no enforcement actions during his tenure.

We strongly urge you to oppose the FCC proposed changes, outlined in a Public Notice of April 1, 2013, GN Docket No. 13-86, to its established indecency enforcement standard. This proposal would only prohibit “deliberate and repetitive” expletives, rather than all incidences, as the current FCC standard does. Further, the FCC seeks guidance on whether it should weaken its enforcement standard to allow for incidences of isolated, non-sexual nudity or continue to curb all such incidences from airing before 10:00 p.m. The Public Notice indicates that the FCC is already using this proposed new standard, and began to do so before opening this public comment period. Yet Congress has not provided any guidance on the suggested change.

Since 18 U. S. C. 1464 on its face prohibits all acts of indecency and profanity, the changes suggested by the FCC in GN Docket No. 13-86 would completely undermine federal law.

We wish to further express our concern, and indeed our outrage, that the FCC, as mentioned in the same Public Notice, has discarded more than one million citizen complaints regarding broadcast indecency, in part due to the Commission’s own deleterious behavior regarding the complaint process.

The FCC’s current enforcement standard has been scrutinized for several years by the courts, including by the United States Supreme Court in FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 132 S. Ct. 2307 (2012) and the broadcast networks are on notice of this standard. It makes no sense to now establish a new standard and possibly tie up that standard in court litigation again.

We urgently request that you do all you can to stop the proposed enforcement standard, including opposing any nominee to the Federal Communications Commission who supports changing the current standard.

This letter is copied to all Commissioners of the FCC.

For the full list of co-signers to this letter, please see: http://w2.parentstv.org/main/Action/resources/CongressLtrFCC.pdf

During its #NoIndecencyFCC Week (May 6-10), the PTC is encouraging people to take to Twitter using the #NoIndecencyFCC hashtag (@FCC; @ThePTC) to let the FCC know that the proposal to limit indecency complaints should be eliminated.

The Parents Television Council® (www.parentstv.org) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members and 56 chapters across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC™ also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

The Parents Television Council® (www.parentstv.org) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media.

This national grassroots organization has more than 1.4 million members, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children.

The PTC™ also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

Visit the new PTC Watchdog Blog at www.parentstv.org/blog.

Follow the PTC on Twitter: @ThePTC.
 
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ptcusa.

To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at kelly@kellyoliverpr.com.