January 8, 2015

2002

Making it easier for citizens to file broadcast indecency complaints. In 2002, the FCC announced that citizens filing broadcast indecency complaints would no longer have to provide a tape or transcript of the program. Since most citizens aren’t taping programs when assaulted by indecent content, the old rule guaranteed that few complaints would be acted on. MIM led the fight for the policy change by calling public attention to the rule, submitting COMMENTS in FCC proceedings, and appeals to Congress. Restoring the right of cable TV operators to regulate indecency on “leased access” channels. In 1992, MIM’s legal department recommended to Congress that legislation be introduced to restore to cable TV operators the authority to regulate indecency on leased access channels. A provision of the Cable TV Act of 1992 enabled cable TV operators to do just that. The Supreme Court upheld the provision in 1996. The decision was the first to uphold a law regulating indecency on cable TV. Extending the ban on broadcast indecency from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court also declined to review a lower federal court decision that allowed the FCC to enforce the broadcast indecency law (18 USC 1464) between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., thus adding two “prime-time” hours to indecency enforcement. Previously, the FCC was enforcing the law only until 8 p.m. MIM led the fight for extending the enforcement hours by launching a national campaign that generated tens of thousands of letters, submitting COMMENTS in FCC proceedings, organizing a meeting between the U.S. Solicitor General’s office and decency group lawyers, and writing amicus briefs in Federal court cases.

Further Reading