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Conservative Group Urges FCC to Keep 'Standards of Decency'

Conservative Group Urges FCC to Keep 'Standards of Decency'

A major social conservative organization is calling upon the Federal Communications Commission to not loosen its standards for graphic content on television and radio.

The American Family Association, a Tupelo, Miss.-based pro-family group, announced Thursday that Americans should petition the FCC "to uphold high television, radio decency standards."

"In addition to the overarching negative impacts of indecency in media on children, a more immediate issue exists: radio 'shock jocks' that thrive on shocking even the most hardened of sensibilities will have even greater latitude to express even more profanity without the worry of FCC censure," states AFA.

Sharp, director of Special Projects for the AFA, told The Christian Post that the changes would be in regards to nudity and expletives.

"The Federal Communications Commission is accepting public input in response to a proposal that would abandon current regulations prohibiting expletives (f-word and s-word) and nudity on public airwaves," said Sharp.

"Currently, broadcast decency laws prohibit obscene and indecent language in any form or frequency, especially during hours when children may be watching television or listening to the radio."

Sharp also told CP that should the FCC loosen its decency standards it will only encourage the growing trend of graphic content on television.

"Although many network television programs contain offensive and graphic programming, the networks know there is a limit to how far they can push the envelope, and still remain within the confines of what the law allows them to broadcast," said Sharp.

"The FCC's allowing for expletives and nudity will only encourage the networks to incorporate more of it into programming."

The FCC announced Monday that they would put to public comment a consideration to change their standards on decency regarding content of entertainment media. The window for comment will last 30 days.

According to its website, the FCC states that the reconsideration comes in response to the Supreme Court's decision in FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 132 S.Ct. 2307 (2012).

In the 8-0 decision, the court ruled that the FCC had failed to give ABC and Fox "fair notice" in warning them that certain "fleeting" expletives or nudity were in violation of the FCC's decency standards.

While the ruling was narrow and avoided the First Amendment debate over such restrictions on content, the FCC stated that the decision led the organization to reconsider their standards.

"Since September 2012, the Bureau has reduced the backlog by 70% thus far, more than one million complaints, principally by closing pending complaints that were beyond the statute of limitations or too stale to pursue, that involved cases outside FCC jurisdiction, that contained insufficient information, or that were foreclosed by settled precedent," reads GN Docket No. 13-86 on the FCC's website.

"The Bureau is also actively investigating egregious indecency cases and will continue to do so. We now seek comment on whether the full Commission should make changes to its current broadcast indecency policies or maintain them as they are."

"The constitution guarantees an individual the right to view programming that does not violate federal obscenity laws (Miller vs. California, 1973), but it does not obligate the federal government to provide the avenue for which it may be obtained," said Sharp of AFA.

"In applying for that license, the networks agree to abide by certain rules regarding broadcasting indecent content and to 'serve the public interest.' If the networks do not wish to abide by the rules they agreed too, they should surrender their license and seek other forms of distributing their programming."


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