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Press Release

March 15, 2006

PTC Lauds FCC's Indecency Rulings

FCC Rightly Fined CBS for Violating Terms of 2004 Consent Decree


LOS ANGELES – Parents Television Council Executive Director Tim Winter released a statement about today's FCC decisions, one of which fined CBS and its affiliates over $3 million for re-airing an episode of Without a Trace. The episode included graphic scenes of a teen orgy party.


Indecency complaints about the initial airing of Without a Trace were lumped into a bundle of complaints that were dismissed, without adjudication, by the FCC's November 2004 Consent Decree in exchange for a $3.5 million payment by CBS.   The second airing of the same episode of Without a Trace was shown just weeks after the Consent Decree was agreed to by CBS' parent company, Viacom. 


Part of the Consent Decree states: "Viacom will also conduct training with respect to the Indecency Laws for all of its on-air talent and employees who materially participate in programming decisions.  If a Viacom-owned station receives a Notice of Apparent Liability for a broadcast occurring after the Effective Date which relates to violation of the Indecency Laws, all employees airing and/or materially participating in the decision to air such material will be suspended and an investigation will immediately be undertaken by Viacom."


"The broadcast airwaves are public property and belong to the American people, and as such the broadcast industry must abide by community standards of decency while using the public airwaves between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm.  This is not a proposal; this is law – well-settled law that was affirmed by the Supreme Court three decades ago.  The airwaves must remain safe for families when children are likely to be in the audience.  Those who violate the public trust are breaking the law and must be punished accordingly," said Tim Winter, executive director of the PTC.


"CBS had no intention of abiding by the terms of its own Consent Decree after it aired Without a Trace, which had generated outcry from thousands of families.  CBS should comply with the Consent Decree it signed and, if it's true to its word, should ensure that all its employees who were involved in the re-airing of Without a Trace are suspended.


"We applaud the FCC for upholding the substantial fine against CBS for Janet Jackson's indecent exposure during the 2004 Super Bowl, for finding the graphic sexual content in The Surreal Life 2 to be indecent, and for clarifying whether utterances of the F-word and S-words are indecent.  Such material does not belong on broadcast television when millions of children are in the viewing audience.  Finally, we wholeheartedly endorse the FCC actions to protect Spanish-speaking children and families from indecent broadcasts. The public airwaves belong to all Americans without regard to their primary language," said Winter.


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 683-5004, ext. 140.

The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has over one million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.






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