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Press Release

August 1, 2008

PTC Slams Networks for Challenging Indecency Laws


LOS ANGELES (August 1, 2008) – The Parents Television Council™ condemned the television broadcast networks for attacking not only the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent enforcement of the broadcast indecency laws, but for trying to halt indecency enforcement altogether. Today, ABC, CBS and NBC filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court to defend Fox’s claim that airing the “F-word” and “S-word” during two Fox awards show broadcasts was not indecent. ABC, CBS and NBC went so far as to criticize the Supreme Court’s Pacifica and Red Lion rulings and claim that broadcasters should not be bound by any type of indecency law. 


“At long last the TV networks show their true colors. They don’t want ‘guidance’ on what is or is not a legally indecent broadcast; they want the law overturned entirely,” said PTC President Tim Winter.


“In spite of their Congressional testimonies promising to abide by the indecency laws; in spite of their pledges of zero-tolerance policies following the 2004 Super Bowl broadcast; in spite of signing consent decrees promising to adhere to the law; in spite of their legal briefs claiming that they would follow the indecency law if only they had better clarity from the FCC - now comes the truth: They don’t want to abide by the law at all.


“Despite what ABC, CBS, and NBC argued in their brief, there is no question that the broadcast medium remains uniquely pervasive. Look no further than the quarterly earnings reports that the publicly-traded networks have been releasing in the past few weeks. While they are telling the Supreme Court that the public airwaves are no longer uniquely pervasive, they are using the airwaves for free and generating billions of dollars in revenue each and every month by using them. If the networks no longer find the public airwaves to be uniquely pervasive, then they should relinquish their broadcast licenses and allow the spectrum to be resold in the public interest.


“The public airwaves belong to all of the American people, and that includes those who have families and children and those who do not. The commonsense balance of allowing indecent content on the public airwaves after 10 pm provides a remedy for both.


“We also condemn the networks’ cowardly move to announce their true motivation on the very same afternoon that the Congress adjourns for the August recess. As our elected officials head home to work on reelection campaigns, they should look their constituents squarely in the eye and affirm that the airwaves still belong to the public - the American people - and not to the broadcasters who license them.


“We applaud the FCC for its commitment to uphold and enforce the law. We urge the Supreme Court to see through the smokescreen that the networks are wrapping in the flag and implore Congress to listen to families’ voices rather than the broadcasters’ wallets. We also urge those very families to demand that the Congress act swiftly to protect the FCC’s authority that has recently come under attack by the broadcast networks by voting on Senator Jay Rockefeller’s pending legislation,” concluded Winter.


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.



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 more than 1.3 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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