MIM Comments on FCC Orders resolving numerous broadcast indecency complaints

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NEW YORK (March 15, 2006) – Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, had the following comments on the FCC’s release today of orders resolving broadcast TV indecency complaints.

“To my knowledge, prior to September 22, 2004, when the FCC issued an Order finding that the MTV-style Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show performance, which included repeated sexual references and culminated in the baring of Ms. Jackson’s breast, was indecent, the FCC had never before determined that a broadcast TV network violated the federal broadcast indecency law (on the books since 1927) for airing network programming.   Today, the FCC reaffirmed that determination, and is to be commended for doing so.

“Today, the FCC also issued an Order determining that five other network programs, ‘Our Sons and Daughters,’ ‘The Surreal Life 2,’  ‘Billboard Music Awards,’ ‘NYPD Blue,’ and ‘The Early Show,’ also violated the broadcast indecency law.   FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is to be commended for taking up where former FCC Chair Michael Powell left off in 2004

“The FCC actions are the result of widespread dissatisfaction with the content of broadcast TV, as reflected in opinion poll after opinion poll which have repeatedly found that large majorities of adult Americans are offended by the glut of sex and vulgarity on TV.  Parents in particular are also concerned about the effects that TV sex and vulgarity are having on children.

“The FCC actions are necessary because the broadcast TV networks no longer have an industry-wide code and self-imposed internal standards that generally reflect community standards.  Today, TV networks are primarily interested in reaching morally challenged teens and young adults, and one proven way to do that is with programming that is sexual and vulgar.

“The FCC actions are constitutional because our nation’s founding fathers viewed the First Amendment within a framework of ordered liberty – not as a license to pollute public spaces with indecent talk and pictures – and because the Supreme Court (FCC v.  Pacifica) has already rejected the argument that enforcement of the law constitutes impermissible ‘censorship.’

“I also think the FCC continues to dismiss valid indecency complaints because its definitions of ‘indecent’ and ‘profane’ are too narrow and because FCC confuses indecency with lewdness.  The law prohibits ‘indecent’ language, and content can be ‘indecent’ without being ‘lewd.’”

Author: MIM   03/15/2006

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