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Broadcast Indecency Campaign

Help Us Put an End to Broadcast Indecency


It is a violation of Federal law to broadcast obscene or indecent programming.  Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time.




The default setting for broadcast television used to be family-oriented, while those desiring edgier, more explicit fare were free to seek it out. Today's prime time television programming has become almost uniformly unsuitable for families, and often directly hostile to their values, making it very difficult for parents to shield their children and seek out alternative entertainment.


Shows airing on broadcast television use the public airwaves. Because broadcast channels are available free over the air, it is assumed that children of any age can access their programming, and during prime time, it is presumed that they are doing so. According to the Communications Act of 1934, which sets the guidelines for the use of this public property, programming must be in the "public interest," i.e., serve a common publicly recognized good. It has never been supposed by the Supreme Court that broadcasters have an absolute right to air whatever they wish with no responsibility to the public interest.


PTC Files Supreme Court Brief in Support of Broadcast Decency

The PTC has filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the FCC’s authority to fine broadcasters for airing indecent material between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. when children are likely to be in the audience. ► more


PTC Condemns Fox Network for “Osbournes: Reloaded,” but Applauds Fox Affiliates for Preemption

The Parents Television Council praised the Fox affiliates that preempted the “Osbournes: Reloaded” which premiered after “American Idol” last night.  The Washington Post reported that affiliates preempted the program by not airing it or by airing it later at night in 11 percent of the country.  The PTC renewed its call on every Fox affiliate to preempt subsequent airings of the program if they contain similar levels of graphic, adult content. more


Fox's Family Guy Spreads Filth on YOUR Airwaves!

Sunday night's episode of the cartoon show, Family Guy aired explicit sexual content and was rated TV-14 DLSV by Fox, meaning that in the network's opinion, this content was appropriate for 14-year olds.


TAKE ACTION NOW! File a complaint with the FCC about this episode.


PTC Urges Supreme Court to Hear the Janet Jackson Striptease Indecency Case

As the U.S. Supreme Court considers today whether to hear the Janet Jackson broadcast decency case, the Parents Television Council™ urges the Court to take up this case in order to maintain the integrity of the broadcast decency law. more 


PTC Cautions Parents and Radio Stations About Indecent Britney Spears Song


The Parents Television Council cautioned parents and radio stations across the country about a new Britney Spears song that spells out the “f-word.”  The PTC believes that the song, entitled “If You Seek Amy,” would violate the broadcast indecency law if aired between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. more


PTC President, Tim Winter discusses Britney Spears new song If You Seek Amy. Click here to Watch!


NBC Airs Unbleeped S-Word on Today Show
On Thursday, September 11th at approximately 7:37 a.m. Eastern time, Today show guest Hans Lange used an unbleeped "s-word" in an interview with host Matt Lauer. Lauer laughed after Mr. Lange said the word -- and the Today show hosts didn't even apologize for airing the profanity!


TAKE ACTION! If you live in the Eastern Time zone, click here to file a formal indecency complaint with the FCC.


PTC Files Amicus Brief in Support of FCC Fine Against ‘NYPD Blue’
The Parents Television Council is asking the court to take seriously ABC’s clear violation of the broadcast decency law during a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue. Abiding by the law should not be too much to ask from a network that uses the publically-owned airwaves for free. more


PTC Chides Time Warner for Supreme Court Brief

The Parents Television Council™ responded to Time Warner’s U.S. Supreme Court filing which argues that prohibiting indecent content on broadcast television could lead to regulating cable network programming for indecent content.


The Supreme Court has already established a legal standard for indecent content on broadcast television – a standard that is completely different from cable television.  Time Warner’s brief is a solution desperately searching for a problem. more

CBS’s ‘Big Brother’ Drops an F-Bomb on Families


The Parents Television Council™ called out CBS today for yet another airing of an unedited “F-word” – the latest instance being on last night’s broadcast of the show “Big Brother.” The program aired at 9:00 pm in the Eastern and Pacific time zones and during the 8:00 pm hour in the Central and Mountain time zones. During last night’s broadcast, a woman named Libra was arguing with a man and said: “Memphis was in the f***ing room!” more


TAKE ACTION NOW! File your official indecency complaint with the FCC today.

PTC Condemns Court Decision Overturning Super Bowl Striptease Indecency


The Parents Television Council responded to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling today that threw out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fine given to CBS for airing Janet Jackson’s breast during the 2004 Super Bowl, which shocked millions of unsuspecting families and children.  The PTC and its 1.3 million members led the charge to clean up the airwaves by calling on the FCC to levy a hefty fine against CBS and its affiliates for violating the federal indecency law over this so-called “wardrobe malfunction,” and the FCC rightly levied a fine. more


TAKE ACTION NOW! Call your Senators and Senator Harry Reid and demand immediate action on S. 1780 (Protecting Children From Indecent Programming Act).


Judges Favor the Profane - by L. Brent Bozell III

File Your Official Indecency Complaint With the FCC Today About Swingtown Threesome

Swingtown, CBS' summer drama which glamorizes extra-marital partner-swapping, has been a ratings failure -- losing 47% of its audience since its June 5th premiere. In a desperate move to lure viewers, CBS has upped the ante by making this drug- and sex-fueled series even more shocking. On the July 10th episode, Trina Decker is reunited with her high-school sweetheart, Luke, and engages in a threesome with her husband and Luke.

TAKE ACTION NOW! File your official indecency complaint with the FCC today!


Broadcast Networks Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Pacifica by Trying to get it Reversed


“The broadcast networks are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Pacifica by trying to get that landmark Supreme Court affirmation of decency reversed.  They have come up with a plethora of preposterous arguments as to why this law should be null and void.  Let’s be clear: the only thing the networks are arguing for is the so-called ‘right’ to air expletives and show indecent content at any time of the day, even during hours when children are in the viewing audience.  George Carlin’s ‘7 Dirty Words’ have never been prohibited from airing on television – they are simply limited to airing after 10 pm,” said PTC President Tim Winter. more


Fox Claims Nudity is Not Indecent

PTC Criticizes Fox’s Legal Challenge to Financial Penalty for Breaking Indecency Law


The Parents Television Council criticized Fox for filing a motion to dismiss the indecent “Married by America” episode that featured repeated scenes of wild sex parties including nudity and graphic sexual activity.  The FCC fined Fox for this episode that aired on April 7, 2003. more

PTC Calls NBC’s Family Hour Pledge Hypocritical

NBC Believes Expletives, “MILF” and Men Groping Women are Appropriate for Families


“We were the first to praise NBC for returning to the Family Hour, but we must now be the first to condemn their apparent abandonment of the previous week’s so-called commitment.  We repeat our request to NBC: please make the Family Hour truly family-friendly.  Responsible television programming is good business." more


TAKE ACTION! File a formal complaint with the FCC.

Parents Lodge Indecency Complaints Over Nudity on "Top Model"


The Parents Television Council filed an indecency complaint over CW’s "America’s Next Top Model" for showing a nude model and is encouraging its members to file complaints with the FCC.


The episode showed a model posing fully nude for photographs while lying on a bed. The nudity was partially blurred. The episode aired on March 26, 2008, during the so-called "Family Hour" at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT. more


TAKE ACTION! File a formal complaint with the FCC.

NBC Airs Female Nudity During Primetime


The Parents Television Council filed an indecency complaint over NBC’s broadcast of a graphic nude scene during Las Vegas on February 15, 2008.  The episode aired at 9 pm in the Central and Mountain Time zones. more


TAKE ACTION! If you live in the Central or Mountain time zones, file a formal complaint with the FCC.


NBC Assaults Families with Offensive Language on Today Show

The Parents Television Council called on NBC to change its broadcasting practices in response to NBC’s unedited airing of a four-letter word for female genitalia spoken by Jane Fonda during an interview on the Today show.

TAKE ACTION! File a Complaint with the FCC!


Breaking News: FCC Fines ABC Affiliates for Airing Indecent Material

The Parents Television Council praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for issuing the maximum fine of $1.43 million against 52 ABC affiliates for airing indecent material in an episode of NYPD Blue. The broadcast at issue aired on February 25, 2003 at 9:00 p.m. in the Central and Mountain Time zones.

To read the entire FCC order, please CLICK HERE.

PTC Demands Swift Action over “F-word” on ABC’s Morning Show

The Parents Television Council chastised ABC for allowing the “F-word” to air unedited during Good Morning America today.  Actress Diane Keaton used the expletive during her interview with Diane Sawyer during the 8:00 a.m. hour in the Eastern time zone. The PTC is calling on its members to file indecency complaints with the FCC regarding this inappropriate and offensive broadcast. more


TAKE ACTION! If you live in the Eastern Time Zone, file a formal complaint with the FCC.

PTC Member Activism Yields Results on Capitol Hill

Thanks to the coordinated efforts of the PTC and other family organizations last week, the once-stagnant "Fleeting Expletives" bill has finally been reported out of committee and has made it to the floor of the Senate for a vote, and today, Senator Stevens, vice chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, called on his colleagues to quickly pass the legislation, saying "I urge the Senate to take up and pass this important legislation because we must keep the airwaves clean… Children should not be exposed to indecent material by simply watching television or listening to the radio." This legislation is a response to the absurd conclusion reached by a federal court last summer that the F and S words should be OK to be broadcast on the public airwaves during the times that tens of millions of children are in the audience. This is a major development on the road toward a major victory for children and families, and it due solely to the thousands of calls placed last week from concerned parents and grandparents like you -- so thank you, and congratulations.

PTC Denounces CBS for Plans to Bring Explicit Showtime Programs to Broadcast TV

The Parents Television Council denounced CBS for its plans to bring series from premium cable network Showtime to its broadcast network, as CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves said yesterday.  Potential shows that could make their way to CBS are Weeds, Dexter, and Brotherhood.  

"CBS' plan is purely based on corporate greed, not what's good for families or in the public interest. These Showtime programs contain some of the most explicit content on television, period. Yet CBS has no qualms about putting shows that make heroes of serial killers and revel in sick, graphic violence or those that condone drug use and glorify drug dealers in front of millions of children and families on broadcast television. These shows are better left on premium cable where children cannot have as easy access and where families are not forced to pay for them in order to get other basic cable networks," said PTC President Tim Winter.

PTC: FCC Fumbles Public Interest Obligation

FCC Allows CBS to Flout Consent Decree; Places Corporate Interest Above Public Interest


“The FCC has failed its obligation by letting CBS off the hook – not once, but now a second time – for airing the same indecent content.  The FCC has chosen CBS’ corporate interest over the public interest, but the public, not CBS, is the true and rightful owner of the public airwaves.  And shamefully, the FCC announced its decision the day after Thanksgiving, trying to bury any public scrutiny.  What kind of signal does this send to broadcast licensees – and more importantly, what kind of signal does this send to the public?  The Commission has failed miserably to serve the public interest,” said PTC President Tim Winter. more

PTC Applauds U.S. House Efforts to Curb Indecent Content on TV

The Parents Television Council praised the leadership of U.S. Reps. Charles Pickering (R-Miss.), Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) to protect children from instances of indecent content on broadcast television.  Congressman Pickering introduced legislation (H.R. 3559) similar to Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-WV) that affirms the FCC’s ability to restrict the use of profanity and indecent images during times of day when children are most likely to be in the viewing audience.  Congressmen Pitts, Matheson and McIntyre are original co-sponsors of the legislation. more

PTC Condemns News Corp. for Reckless Programming Decision

Subsidiary MyNetworkTV Airs Adult Cable Program on Broadcast During Family Hour


The Parents Television Council denounced News Corp. and its broadcast television network, MyNetworkTV, for airing an adult-targeted, Mature-rated, cable program on broadcast television at the start of the so-called “Family Hour.”  On August 1, the first two episodes of the new FX drama Damages aired nationally on MyNetworkTV at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET/PT in place of a previously scheduled concert.  Neither the sexual content nor the violent content was edited from the MA-rated cable version of these programs when they re-aired on broadcast, though a few profanities were deleted. more

Parents Television Council Appointed to FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee

The Parents Television Council has accepted an invitation to join the Federal Communication Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee.  Dan Isett, Director of Corporate and Government Affairs, will be serving on the committee as a representative for the PTC. more

PTC Praises Senate Commerce Committee for Protecting Children From Indecent TV

The Parents Television Council praised the Senate Commerce Committee for taking the necessary steps today towards protecting children from indecent content on television. The committee passed a bill introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) that affirmed the FCC’s ability to restrict the use of profanity and indecent images during times of day when children are most likely to be in the viewing audience. more

PTC Condemns Attempts to Block Broadcast Decency Amendment

The Parents Television Council spoke out against all attempts to block a broadcast decency amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. The amendment is slated to be introduced and voted on by the Senate Appropriations Committee today. PTC Advisory Board Member and Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) will offer an amendment that is designed to protect children from inappropriate content on broadcast television by reinstating the FCC’s ability to prohibit the use of profanity and indecent images during times of day when children are most likely to be in the viewing audience. more

PTC Denounces Ultra-Violent TV Content and Calls on Industry to Shape Up

Parents Television Council President Tim Winter testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on the issue of television violence and the “Impact of Media Violence on Children” hearing today. He provided graphic examples of how brutal and gruesome television violence has become and took the industry to task for not dealing with the problem responsibly.  more


To read Tim Winter's full testimony, Click Here.

PTC: Court OK’s F-Word In Front of Kids

PTC President Tim Winter said, “As we predicted several months ago, a court in New York City has cleared the way for television networks to use the F-word and S-word in front of children at any time of the day. By a mere 2-1 margin, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has, in essence, stolen the airwaves from the public and handed ownership over to the broadcast industry.   more


Click here to send a message about this ruling to your representatives.

CBS Assaults Families With Grotesque Violence on NCIS

A recent episode of CBS’ NCIS reviewed by the Parents Television Council showed a horrifically violent drug scene during an early evening hour when children are most often found in the viewing audience. Not only did this air at the earliest hour of primetime, but the episode did not carry the proper television rating descriptors to warn parents about the gruesome material or to allow them to block the program using V-chip technology.   more


Click here to send your warning to the sponsors of NCIS.

Fox Deliberately Displays the "F-Word" During Prime Time Football Game

During a cutaway shot to the stadium spectators, the camera focused directly on a woman wearing a t-shirt clearly inscribed with the words "F--k Da Eagles" (without the dashes). The shot stayed focused on the woman and her shirt for several seconds. There can be no doubt that this was an intentional airing of patently offensive language on the public airwaves.


Click here to file a complaint with the FCC about this broadcast.

PTC Files Amicus Brief in Support of FCC Ruling

On Wednesday, December 13, the PTC filed an Amicus Brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City in support of the FCC's rulings that two instances of profanity aired on the public airwaves prior to 10:00 PM were, in fact, indecent. Unwilling to abide by the law and accept additional guidance from the FCC about what would be found indecent, the major networks have taken those rulings to federal court and now hope to undermine the very existence of broadcast decency law.


Joining the PTC and our 1.1 million members in this filing are such prominent pro-family organizations as Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and Citizens for Community Values. The PTC is committed to doing everything possible to protecting America's children, and, working together, we will bring the voices of millions of outraged citizens to bear to defend common sense broadcast decency law against those who would turn the public airwaves into a permanent sewer.


Click here to read the full brief filed by the PTC.

Scripted Obscenities on NBC and My Network TV

The broadcast networks are becoming more brazen with each passing day. They are now intentionally scripting illegal obscenities into prime time television series, and they are doing it to be openly defiant of the law!

New broadcast channel My Network TV scripted the s-word into the September 21st broadcast of the prime time soap, Desire. The incident occurred during the 8:00 hour on the East and West coasts but during the 7:00 hour in the Central and Mountain Time Zones.
And just last week, NBC scripted the word "t*ts" into the October 5th broadcast of ER, which airs at 9:00 in the Central and Mountain Time Zones. more


Click here to file a complaint with the FCC about these broadcasts.

PTC Links Indecent Programming to Media Consolidation

Broadcast Networks Ignore Community Standards of Decency and Cable Networks Force Carriage of Raunchy Programming


The Parents Television Council Executive Director Tim Winter testified that media consolidation has led to fewer considerations for community standards of decency on broadcast television, and to families being forced to subscribe raunchy programming on cable television, at the Federal Communication Commission's 2006 Quadrennial Broadcast Media Ownership Review held in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 3rd.


Click Here to read excerpts from Mr. Winter's remarks.

To watch the video clip click here.

PTC Files Indecency Complaint Over Obscene Language During Emmys


The Parents Television Council filed an indecency complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the NBC broadcast of the Emmy Awards during which actresses Helen Mirren and Calista Flockhart used vulgar and obscene language on the live broadcast.  The PTC, on behalf of its over one million members nationwide, has asked the FCC to levy a Notice of Apparent Liability against each NBC affiliate that aired the unedited program. more


Click here to file a complaint with the FCC about this broadcast.

President Bush Signs the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005

Brent Bozell, Founder and President of the Parents Television Council and Executive Director, Tim Winter were at the White House Thursday, June 15 to witness President Bush signing the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, increasing fines from $32,500 per incident to $325,000 per incident.

"We hope that the hefty fines will cause the multi-billion dollar broadcast networks to finally take the law seriously," said Bozell.

President Bush cited the PTC study "The Blue Tube" in his statement to emphasize the overwhelming need for broadcaster accountability.

Click here to view the video and read President Bush's remarks from the bill signing ceremony.

Click here to view the PTC's timeline on indecency issues from 1934 through the present.

PTC Declares Victory Over Passage of Indecency Legislation - PTC Press Release

PTC Praises Senate for Passing Indecency Bill - PTC Press Release


Latest News:

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FCC Leadership

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FCC Contact Info:

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW Washington, DC 20554
Phone: 888-CALL-FCC (225-5322)
TTY: 888-TELL-FCC (835-5322)
Fax: 202-418-0232 

Julius Genachowski

Michael J. Copps

Robert M. McDowell

Mignon Clyburn

Meredith Attwell Baker

Link to Senate Commerce Communications Subcommittee which oversees FCC

FCC Parents Place

Link to Senate Commerce Communications Subcommittee which oversees FCC

FCC Parents Place


Speak Out:

Make a public comment about an issue on the FCC Website

Cable and Satellite subscriber options, e.g. a la carte channels Comment on allowing the purchase of channels individually instead of as part of a package.

Violent Television Programming and Its Impact on Children Is there too much violence on TV? What do you think?



Media Quotes:

"Almost single-handedly, the PTC has become a national clearing house for, and arbiter of, decency..." - Time Magazine, March 28, 2005

"The Parents Television Council is the big 800-pound gorilla in the room," says David Carlin, an attorney at Reed Smith, who specialises in indecency cases. - Financial Times, June 14, 2005

Most Viewers Favor TV Decency Rule Enforcement A recent survey by the Pew Research Center showed that 75% of the 1,505 adults polled would like to see tighter enforcement of government rules on broadcast content, particularly when children are most likely to be watching; 60% want indecency standards extended to cable TV; and 69% want higher fines for media companies.




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