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Press Release

May 26, 2011


PTC Files Supreme Court Brief in Defense of Broadcast Decency  


LOS ANGELES (May 26, 2011) – The Parents Television Council® has filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review and overturn the Second Circuit Court of Appeal rulings regarding nudity and so-called “fleeting expletives” on broadcast television. In April, the Obama administration called on the Supreme Court to reaffirm the constitutionality of the decency law that allows the Federal Communications Commission to fine broadcasters for showing nudity and airing foul language when young children are most likely to be in the audience.

“Decency has been a fixture of federal law since the dawn of broadcasting, and last month received the support of the Obama Administration. However, the TV networks will not halt their crusade for the ‘right’ to air f-words and graphic nudity in front of children. Without Supreme Court intervention, the FCC stands to lose all Congressionally-mandated authority over indecent broadcast television and radio content,” said PTC president Tim Winter.

“The decency law hinges on the fact that the broadcast medium is uniquely pervasive and highly accessible to children. Despite myriad changes in the media marketplace, that fundamental truth has not changed. Only last month at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas, NAB President Gordon Smith touted that 43 million Americans still depend solely on over-the-air signals for television, and that 90 of the top 100 most-viewed shows remain on broadcast TV, not cable.

“Whether the TV networks like it or not, a public broadcaster’s fiduciary duty to use the public airwaves for the public good is not a relic of a gentler time. It’s preposterous for broadcasters to claim they cannot abide by commonsense decency standards. If they are unable to determine what their community standards of decency are, then perhaps they are not worthy of holding broadcast licenses.

“In order to use the publicly-owned airwaves for free, broadcasters agree to abide by certain public interest requirements, one of which is not to air indecent material before 10:00 pm. Since the networks have asked the court to review previous rulings regarding the use of the airwaves by broadcasters, their message is clear: broadcasters want all of the privileges and riches provided by free use of the public airwaves with none of the responsibility. For that, they should be ashamed,” 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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