FCC May Allow More Sex, Profanity on TV; Family Groups Outraged

The Federal Communications Commission, the government institution which regulates content on U.S. television, has been proposing changes to its guidelines which would allow more sex, vulgarity and profanity during earlier hours when children are more likely to be watching, which family groups have increasingly opposed.

Fox News reported on Tuesday that since last month, the FCC has been discussing whether to end the prohibition of expletives and certain images of nudity on television. It is allowing the public until June 19 to share their thoughts on the issue.

Pro-family groups, which often complain about the amount of vulgarity already on TV, have said that many parents find the proposed changes to be unacceptable.

"Today's television programming already goes well beyond the content parameters most parents find acceptable. No parent, after watching a program with their children says, 'you know, that sure would have been a better program if they'd only thrown some nudity and profanity in there,'" said Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis at the American Family Association.

"The pressure is coming from the broadcast networks, who don't want to be accountable to anyone for content. But the airwaves are owned by the American people, and the FCC is supposed to be a responsible steward of the airwaves for their true owners," Fischer continued.

"It would be grossly irresponsible for the FCC to allow this. If the FCC drops the standard, the networks will give us all the profanity and nudity they think they can get away with, and they'd just keep pushing the envelope."

The FCC has received close to 95,000 comments regarding the proposed changes, with many members of the public expressing their strict opposition to more sex and profanity on TV.

"I oppose any changes to the current FCC indecency standards that would allow television and radio stations to broadcast expletives and nudity on the public airwaves, even if brief or 'fleeting,'" writes one member.

"The Supreme Court has confirmed the FCC's authority to enforce policies regarding expletives and nudity, especially during times when children are likely to be watching or listening. Relaxing the current policy would not serve the public interest and I urge the FCC to reject all proposals that would allow for the broadcast of expletives and nudity on FCC-licensed stations."

John Conway, entertainment attorney and CEO of Astonish Media Group, commented, "Prime time television will start looking more like cable television in terms of language and content. I'm sure networks will test limits for ratings as they do now, but I think the American public will keep the worst outrages in check as they do now."

The Parents Television Council has actively been campaigning against the changes, and led a "#NoIndecencyFCC Week" effort on Twitter in May.

"There's an enormous amount of TV content that parents are going to find problematic, offensive or even harmful to their children. The broadcast indecency law is only meant to deal with the worst of the worst TV and radio content to begin with and now the FCC says it doesn't even want to deal with that," said Dan Isett, director of public policy for the PTC.

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