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Press Release

September 15, 2011


PTC Files Supreme Court Brief in Support of Broadcast Decency 


LOS ANGELES (September 15, 2011) – The Parents Television Council® has filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the FCC’s authority to fine broadcasters for airing indecent material between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. when children are likely to be in the audience.

After years of wrangling over unedited profanity on Fox during Billboard Awards show broadcasts and nudity on ABC’s “NYPD Blue,” the U.S. Supreme Court announced in June it would hear arguments regarding the television decency law.

“If broadcasters want to air f-bombs or depictions of titillating bathroom scenes involving children and nude women, they can wait until 10:00 p.m. when children aren’t likely to be in the audience. That is all the current law requires of broadcasters. And the constitutionality of that law should be affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court,” said PTC president Tim Winter.

“By virtue of an FCC-granted license, broadcasters are afforded free use of the publicly-owned airwaves – an asset that has been valued at upwards of half a trillion dollars. One term of that license is not to air indecent material between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

“Despite cries of a ‘chilling effect’ and ‘censorship’ from the industry and their agents, the FCC’s broadcast decency enforcement regime does not affect whether the TV networks can broadcast indecent material; it only affects when they can do so

“If broadcasters are truly unable to refrain from airing indecent material when children are most likely to be watching television, they simply do not deserve a broadcast license. For live broadcasts, a several-second delay is an easy and reasonable precaution.

“The White House, Congress and the Supreme Court have all recognized that protecting children is of paramount importance, especially considering the pervasiveness of foul language and the coarsening of entertainment in general. PTC research showed a 69.3 percent increase in profanity on prime-time broadcast programming between 2005 and 2010, the biggest gains involving four letter words starting with ‘f’ and ‘s.’

“This case will determine whether the indecency statute will be reduced to a polite fiction that can be safely ignored at the expense of American children and families. We strongly urge the Court to uphold the FCC’s enforcement policy as a constitutionally valid, logical extension of Pacifica,” 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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