TV Networks Ask FCC to Ignore Decency Laws
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 6, 2013) – The American public eagerly waits to see if the FCC will do its job and enforce federal decency law. In response to the proposal to allow nudity and profanity on daytime TV, the FCC took public comments. More than 100,000 people wrote opposing any change in standards. On August 2, the reply comment period came to a close. Now we must wait and see if the FCC will actually enforce the laws enacted by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court and supported by the American public or if the FCC will cave to the networks and throw TV decency out the window.
Broadcast TV networks and their supporters, to include most notably the National Association of Broadcasters, are urging the FCC to allow them to produce any content they see fit. They essentially say that the two most recent U. S. Supreme Court decisions on decency, FCC v. Fox TV Stations, Inc., 556 U.S. 502, (2009) Fox I,” and FCC v. Fox TV Stations, Inc., 132 S. Ct. 2307 (2012) “Fox II,” should be re-litigated. They did not like the fact that the Supreme Court said the American public has a right to decency.
In the meantime, the Senate Commerce Committee has rushed the confirmation vote for Tom Wheeler, President Obama’s appointee for new FCC Chairman, despite his refusal to commit to upholding one of the main purposes of the FCC – decency enforcement. Rewarding Wheeler with a vote of confidence, as the committee did, shows an indifference to the millions of Americans who are sick and tired of TV networks pushing the envelope on indecency.
We hope that Congress will press Mr. Wheeler, and the upcoming appointment to fill the other opening on the Commission, to do their job and enforce federal law. The American public has a right to decency on broadcast TV and radio. This is a right continually undermined by TV networks and by the lack of enforcement of decency standards by the FCC itself.