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Press Release

January 4, 2011


PTC Condemns Second Circuit Decision to Throw Out "NYPD Blue" Indecency Fine 

LOS ANGELES (January 4, 2011) – The Parents Television Council™ denounced today’s ruling by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals which threw out an indecency fine for a February 25, 2003 airing of “NYPD Blue” on ABC. The broadcast at issue contained a graphic and lengthy display of female nudity and aired at 9:00 pm in the Central and Mountain Time zones. Today’s ruling was based on the flawed and under-appeal Fox v. FCC ruling on so-called “fleeting profanity.”

“Once again the Second Circuit has proclaimed that it knows better than the Supreme Court, the Congress, the FCC, and the overwhelming majority of the American people. Regardless of one’s political viewpoint – left, center or right – this may well be the most egregious example of ‘legislating from the bench’ that our Federal Court system has ever witnessed,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“This ruling is as devoid of common sense as it was predictable. The Second Circuit’s three-judge panel has stated that it doesn’t like the concept of broadcast decency. The Court is clearly on a quest to do everything in its power to impede the law – even if the judges’ rationale today conflicts with their prior reasoning for overturning FCC sanctions. It is unfortunate that the industry’s blatant forum-shopping effort is being rewarded with such outlandish decisions.

“In this instance, ABC intentionally chose to air a scripted visual depiction of a fully-naked woman before 10:00 pm. There was absolutely nothing fleeting or accidental about it. The inclusion of the lengthy and ogling scene was intended to pander and titillate. This was a clear breach of the decency law. And now, nearly eight years after the episode aired, ABC is told it doesn’t have to abide by the law.

“The broadcast decency law – which has been affirmed by the Supreme Court – doesn’t prohibit the broadcast of indecent material over the publicly-owned airwaves. It simply requires that indecent content air outside the hours when children are likely to be watching.

“Children and families are the real victims today. This ruling will only serve to embolden the networks to air even more graphic material,” Winter 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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