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Press Release

September 18, 2009

PTC Response to Former FCC Commissioners’ Brief in “Fleeting Expletives” Case

Former FCC Leaders Now Believe Expletives on Broadcast TV are OK


LOS ANGELES (September 18, 2009) - The Parents Television Council™ issued a response to a brief filed in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals by three former FCC commissioners, Newton Minow, Mark Fowler, and James Quello, in the case over the indecent nature of expletives that air over the publicly-owned airwaves.


“While we appreciate the publicity that these former FCC commissioners are bringing to the PTC, the essence of their brief is untrue.  When they talk about moderation and restraint, they fail to mention that in 1998, the ‘f word’ aired only once on primetime broadcast television yet it appeared no less than 1,147 times on 184 different programs in 2007,” said PTC President Tim Winter.


“In addition, the former commissioners point out an absurd argument about a chilling effect but they fail to mention that the major broadcast corporations own most of the expanded basic cable tier.  If these corporations own more than 80% of these channels, how can they be ‘chilled’?


“If the former commissioners believe the public interest does not include or contemplate limiting ‘f-bombs’ on broadcast television until after 10 pm, then they are woefully out of touch with the American public.  A majority of Americans, Congress, and the Supreme Court, all agree that expletives should not air over the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves when children are in the viewing audience.


“If the former commissioners and the broadcasters want to have the same treatment of broadcast as other forms of media, then every public interest obligation of a broadcaster – every aspect – must be reconsidered, not just the indecency portion.


“I take great pride in providing the public with a voice to express their concerns for those who break the indecency law where there was no voice before.  Every American citizen has a right to petition the FCC if they believe that a broadcaster has violated their community’s decency standards and broken the broadcast decency law.  We applaud every American who has exercised that right – whether it was by filing a complaint on the PTC’s web site, through the FCC’s own web site or in a letter to the FCC.”


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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