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Press Release

August 23, 2010


PTC Urges Second Circuit to Uphold FCC Fine for Indecent “NYPD Blue” Episode


LOS ANGELES (August 23, 2010) – The Parents Television Council™ filed a supplemental brief with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals regarding a February 25, 2003 airing of “NYPD Blue” on ABC. Additional briefs were requested in the case following a ruling on so-called “fleeting profanity” in the Fox v. FCC case earlier this summer. The “NYPD Blue” broadcast at issue contained a graphic display of female nudity and aired at 9:00 p.m. in the Central and Mountain Time zones.


“The fact that ABC is still insisting there was nothing indecent about the 2003 broadcast that depicted a woman standing fully naked in front of a child is mind-boggling. When the FCC reviewed the thousands of indecency complaints filed regarding this episode, there was no question – the scene was indecent. That fact has not changed,” said Dan Isett, Director of Public Policy for the Parents Television Council.


“This case is distinct from Fox v. FCC in that there is nothing fleeting or accidental about it. ABC chose to air a scripted visual depiction of a fully-naked woman from behind before 10:00 pm. The camera ogles her up and down with saucy music playing in the background and a child looking on. Later in the show, the adult characters joke about the boy’s reaction to seeing the woman naked.


“The decency law has been upheld by the Supreme Court and recently updated by Congress. To assert that it is now irrelevant is preposterous. The broadcast medium continues to be uniquely pervasive. The National Association of Broadcasters actually launched a campaign that touts the fact that ‘98.5% of the highest rated shows are on broadcast TV.’ With more households able to receive broadcast television signals, the medium is even more pervasive today than it was at the time of the Pacifica decision.


“Parents who count on television monitoring technology, such as the V-chip, to keep indecent content out of their homes find that it is next to useless, not to mention inherently biased since the networks rate their own shows.


“We urge the Court to hold ABC accountable for the content it chose to air, knowing it violated TV decency standards. It’s time for the TV networks to be reminded of what Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and the overwhelming majority of American people already know: the indecency statute must be upheld,” Isett concluded.


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Megan Franko at (703) 859-5054 or Liz Krieger at (703) 683-5004 ext. 120.

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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