LOS ANGELES (December 11, 2009) - The Parents Television Council® called into question the FCC’s appointment of Stuart Benjamin to the new post of Distinguished Scholar in Residence for the Office of Strategic Planning. He will reportedly work on First Amendment issues. Mr. Benjamin has written about and has been quoted as saying that well-established broadcast decency law “should be found unconstitutional.”
“Broadcast decency is the law of the land. The Congress has instructed the FCC to enforce the law, recent legislation has increased the fines for breaking the law, and for more than 30 years the Supreme Court has upheld the law – including two decisions this very year. So naturally it is vexing to learn that a vocal opponent of the broadcast decency law would be named to work on First Amendment issues for the FCC,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“The appointment of Stuart Benjamin raises significant questions about how seriously the FCC intends to take its job to enforce the well-established broadcast decency law. Mr. Benjamin’s record appears to be completely opposed to the legal obligation of the FCC with regard to safeguarding the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves during times when children are in the audience.
“The FCC has a backlog of 1.6 million indecency complaints from Americans and each complaint must be adjudicated on its merits. We call upon FCC Chairman Genachowski to immediately affirm with deeds the comments he made before the Senate during his confirmation hearing, to wit, that the FCC under his leadership would be committed to enforcing the broadcast decency law.
“It would serve the public interest well for the Chairman to spell out what, exactly, Mr. Benjamin’s responsibility will be in his newly-created position; and to clarify whether Mr. Benjamin will play any role in adjudicating the backlog of indecency complaints filed by the American people,” Winter concluded.