It is a violation of Federal law to broadcast obscene or indecent
programming. Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment
and cannot be broadcast at any time.
The default setting for
broadcast television used to be family-oriented, while those desiring
edgier, more explicit fare were free to seek it out. Today's prime time
television programming has become almost uniformly unsuitable for families,
and often directly hostile to their values, making it very difficult for
parents to shield their children and seek out alternative entertainment.
Shows airing on broadcast television use the public airwaves. Because
broadcast channels are available free over the air, it is assumed that
children of any age can access their programming, and during prime time, it
is presumed that they are doing so. According to the Communications
Act of 1934, which sets the guidelines for the use of this public
property, programming must be in the "public interest," i.e., serve a common
publicly recognized good. It has never been supposed by the Supreme Court
that broadcasters have an absolute right to air whatever they wish with no
responsibility to the public interest.
PTC Files Supreme Court Brief in
Support of Broadcast Decency
PTC 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 Parents Television Council praised the Fox affiliates that preempted the “Osbournes: Reloaded” which premiered after “American Idol” last night.
The Washington Post
reported that affiliates preempted the program by not airing it or by airing it later at night in 11 percent of the country. The PTC renewed its call on every Fox affiliate to preempt subsequent airings of the program if they contain similar levels of graphic, adult content.
the cartoon show,
rated TV-14 DLSV
As the U.S.
whether to hear the
urges the Court to
take up this case in
order to maintain
the integrity of the
cautioned parents and
radio stations across
the country about a new
Britney Spears song that
spells out the “f-word.”
The PTC believes that
the song, entitled “If
You Seek Amy,” would
violate the broadcast
indecency law if aired
between the hours of
6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
NBC Airs Unbleeped S-Word on Today Show On Thursday, September 11th at approximately 7:37 a.m. Eastern time,
Today show guest Hans Lange used an unbleeped
"s-word" in an interview with host Matt Lauer. Lauer
laughed after Mr. Lange said the word
-- and the Today show hosts didn't even
apologize for airing the profanity!
The Parents Television Council is asking the court to take seriously ABC’s clear violation of the broadcast decency law during a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue. Abiding by the law should not be too much to ask from a network that uses the publically-owned airwaves for free.
The Parents Television Council™ responded to Time Warner’s U.S. Supreme Court filing which argues that prohibiting indecent content on broadcast television could lead to regulating cable network programming for indecent content.
The Supreme Court has already established a legal standard for indecent content on broadcast television – a standard that is completely different from cable television. Time Warner’s brief is a solution desperately searching for a problem. ►
The Parents Television Council™ called out CBS today for yet another airing of an unedited “F-word” – the latest instance being on last night’s broadcast of the show “Big Brother.” The program aired at 9:00 pm in the Eastern and Pacific time zones and during the 8:00 pm hour in the Central and Mountain time zones. During last night’s broadcast, a woman named Libra was arguing with a man and said: “Memphis was in the f***ing room!”
The Parents Television Council responded to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling today that threw out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fine given to CBS for airing Janet Jackson’s breast during the 2004 Super Bowl, which shocked millions of unsuspecting families and children. The PTC and its 1.3 million members led the charge to clean up the airwaves by calling on the FCC to levy a hefty fine against CBS and its affiliates for violating the federal indecency law over this so-called “wardrobe malfunction,” and the FCC rightly levied a fine.
File Your Official Indecency Complaint With the FCC Today About
Swingtown, CBS' summer drama which glamorizes extra-marital partner-swapping, has been a ratings failure
-- losing 47% of its audience since its June 5th premiere. In a desperate move to lure viewers, CBS has upped the ante by making this drug- and sex-fueled series even more shocking. On the July 10th episode, Trina Decker is reunited with her high-school sweetheart, Luke, and engages in a threesome with her husband and Luke.
Broadcast Networks Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Pacifica by Trying to get it Reversed
“The broadcast networks are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Pacifica by trying to get that landmark Supreme Court affirmation of decency reversed. They have come up with a plethora of preposterous arguments as to why this law should be null and void. Let’s be clear: the only thing the networks are arguing for is the so-called ‘right’ to air expletives and show indecent content at any time of the day, even during hours when children are in the viewing audience. George Carlin’s ‘7 Dirty Words’ have never been prohibited from airing on television – they are simply limited to airing after 10 pm,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
Legal Challenge to
criticized Fox for
filing a motion to
dismiss the indecent
“Married by America”
scenes of wild sex
nudity and graphic
The FCC fined Fox
for this episode
that aired on April
Believes Expletives, “MILF” and Men Groping Women are
Appropriate for Families
“We were the first to praise NBC for
returning to the Family Hour, but we must now be the first
to condemn their apparent abandonment of the previous week’s
so-called commitment. We repeat our request to NBC: please
make the Family Hour truly family-friendly. Responsible
television programming is good business."
over CW’s "America’s
on a bed.
blurred. The episode
Hour" at 8
pm ET/7 pm
Parents Television Council
filed an indecency complaint
over NBC’s broadcast of a
graphic nude scene during
Las Vegas on February
15, 2008. The episode aired at
9 pm in the Central and Mountain
The Parents Television Council
called on NBC to change its broadcasting practices in response to NBC’s unedited airing of a four-letter word for female genitalia spoken by Jane Fonda during an interview on the Today show.
The Parents Television Council praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for issuing the maximum fine of $1.43 million against 52 ABC affiliates for airing indecent material in an episode of
NYPD Blue. The broadcast at issue aired on February 25, 2003 at 9:00 p.m. in the Central and Mountain Time zones.
The Parents Television Council chastised ABC
for allowing the “F-word” to air unedited during
America today. Actress Diane
Keaton used the expletive during her interview
with Diane Sawyer during the 8:00 a.m. hour in
the Eastern time zone. The PTC is calling on its
members to file indecency complaints with the
FCC regarding this inappropriate and offensive
PTC Member Activism Yields Results on Capitol Hill
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of the PTC and other family organizations last week, the once-stagnant
"Fleeting Expletives" bill has finally been reported out of committee and has made it to the floor of the Senate for a vote, and today, Senator Stevens, vice chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, called on his colleagues to quickly pass the legislation, saying
"I urge the Senate to take up and pass this important legislation because we must keep the airwaves clean… Children should not be exposed to indecent material by simply watching television or listening to the radio." This legislation is a response to the absurd conclusion reached by a federal court last summer that the F and S words should be OK to be broadcast on the public airwaves during the times that tens of millions of children are in the audience. This is a major development on the road toward a major victory for children and families, and it due solely to the thousands of calls placed last week from concerned parents and grandparents like you
-- so thank you, and congratulations.
PTC Denounces CBS for Plans to Bring Explicit Showtime Programs to Broadcast TV
The Parents Television Council denounced CBS for its plans to bring series from premium cable network Showtime to its broadcast network, as CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves said yesterday. Potential shows that could make their way to CBS are
Weeds, Dexter, and Brotherhood.
"CBS' plan is purely based on corporate greed, not what's good for families or
in the public interest. These Showtime programs contain some of the most
explicit content on television, period. Yet CBS has no qualms about putting
shows that make heroes of serial killers and revel in sick, graphic violence or
those that condone drug use and glorify drug dealers in front of millions of
children and families on broadcast television. These shows are better left on
premium cable where children cannot have as easy access and where families are
not forced to pay for them in order to get other basic cable networks," said PTC
President Tim Winter.
FCC Allows CBS to Flout Consent Decree; Places
Corporate Interest Above Public Interest
“The FCC has failed its obligation by
letting CBS off the hook – not once, but now a
second time – for airing the same indecent content.
The FCC has chosen CBS’ corporate interest over the
public interest, but the public, not CBS, is the
true and rightful owner of the public airwaves. And
shamefully, the FCC announced its decision the day
after Thanksgiving, trying to bury any public
scrutiny. What kind of signal does this send to
broadcast licensees – and more importantly, what
kind of signal does this send to the public? The
Commission has failed miserably to serve the public
interest,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
Television Council praised the leadership of U.S. Reps. Charles
Pickering (R-Miss.), Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah)
and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) to protect children from instances of
indecent content on broadcast television. Congressman Pickering
introduced legislation (H.R. 3559) similar to Sen. Jay
Rockefeller’s (D-WV) that
affirms the FCC’s ability to restrict
the use of profanity and indecent images during times of day
when children are most likely to be in the viewing audience.
Congressmen Pitts, Matheson and McIntyre are original
co-sponsors of the legislation.
MyNetworkTV Airs Adult Cable Program on Broadcast During Family Hour
Parents Television Council denounced News Corp. and its
broadcast television network, MyNetworkTV, for airing an
adult-targeted, Mature-rated, cable program on broadcast television
at the start of the so-called “Family Hour.” On August 1, the first
two episodes of the new FX drama Damages aired nationally
on MyNetworkTV at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET/PT in place of a previously
scheduled concert. Neither the sexual content nor the violent
content was edited from the MA-rated cable version of these programs
when they re-aired on broadcast, though a few profanities were
Parents Television Council has accepted an invitation to join the Federal
Communication Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee. Dan Isett, Director
of Corporate and Government Affairs, will be serving on the committee as a
representative for the PTC. ► more
Parents Television Council praised the Senate Commerce Committee for taking
the necessary steps today towards protecting children from indecent content
on television. The committee passed a bill introduced by Sen. Jay
Rockefeller (D-WV) that affirmed the FCC’s ability to restrict the use of
profanity and indecent images during times of day when children are most
likely to be in the viewing audience.
Parents Television Council spoke out against all attempts to block a
broadcast decency amendment to the Financial Services and General Government
Appropriations bill. The amendment is slated to be introduced and voted on
by the Senate Appropriations Committee today. PTC Advisory Board Member and
Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) will offer an amendment that is designed to
protect children from inappropriate content on broadcast television by
reinstating the FCC’s ability to prohibit the use of profanity and indecent
images during times of day when children are most likely to be in the
viewing audience. ► more
Television Council President Tim Winter testified before the U.S. Senate
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on the issue of television
violence and the “Impact of Media Violence on Children” hearing today. He
provided graphic examples of how brutal and gruesome television violence has
become and took the industry to task for not dealing with the problem
responsibly. ► more
PTC President Tim Winter said, “As we predicted several months ago, a court in New York City has cleared the way for television networks to use the F-word and S-word in front of children at any time of the day. By a mere 2-1 margin, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has, in essence, stolen the airwaves from the public and handed ownership over to the broadcast industry.
to send a message about this ruling to your
A recent episode of CBS’
NCIS reviewed by the Parents Television Council showed a horrifically violent drug scene during an early evening hour when children are most often found in the viewing audience. Not only did this air at the earliest hour of primetime, but the episode did not carry the proper television rating descriptors to warn parents about the gruesome material or to allow them to block the program using V-chip technology. ►
to send your warning to the sponsors of NCIS.
During a cutaway shot to the stadium spectators, the camera focused directly on a woman wearing a t-shirt clearly inscribed with the words "F--k Da
Eagles" (without the dashes). The
shot stayed focused on the woman and
her shirt for several seconds. There
can be no doubt that this was an
intentional airing of patently
offensive language on the public
►Click here to
file a complaint with the FCC about this broadcast.
On Wednesday, December 13, the PTC filed an Amicus Brief
with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City
in support of the FCC's rulings that two instances of profanity aired on
the public airwaves prior to 10:00 PM were, in fact, indecent. Unwilling
to abide by the law and accept additional guidance from the FCC about
what would be found indecent, the major networks have taken those
rulings to federal court and now hope to undermine the very existence of
broadcast decency law.
Joining the PTC and our 1.1 million members in this
filing are such prominent pro-family organizations as Focus on the
Family, Concerned Women for America and Citizens for Community Values.
The PTC is committed to doing everything possible to protecting
America's children, and, working together, we will bring the voices of
millions of outraged citizens to bear to defend common sense broadcast
decency law against those who would turn the public airwaves into a
the full brief filed by the PTC.
Scripted Obscenities on NBC and My
The broadcast networks are becoming
more brazen with each passing day.
They are now intentionally scripting
illegal obscenities into prime time
television series, and they are
doing it to be openly defiant of the
New broadcast channel My Network TV
scripted the s-word into the
September 21st broadcast of the
prime time soap,
Desire. The incident occurred
during the 8:00 hour on the East and
West coasts but during the 7:00 hour
in the Central and Mountain Time
And just last week, NBC scripted the
word "t*ts" into the October 5th
ER, which airs at 9:00 in the
Central and Mountain Time Zones.
►Click here to
file a complaint with the FCC about these broadcasts.
Broadcast Networks Ignore Community
Standards of Decency and
Cable Networks Force Carriage of
The Parents Television
Council Executive Director Tim
Winter testified that media
consolidation has led to fewer
considerations for community
standards of decency on broadcast
television, and to families being
forced to subscribe raunchy
programming on cable television, at
the Federal Communication
Commission's 2006 Quadrennial
Broadcast Media Ownership Review
held in Los Angeles on Tuesday,
to read excerpts from Mr. Winter's remarks.
Parents Television Council filed an indecency
complaint with the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) over the NBC broadcast of the Emmy Awards
during which actresses Helen Mirren and Calista
Flockhart used vulgar and obscene language on the
live broadcast. The PTC, on behalf of its over
one million members nationwide, has asked the FCC to
levy a Notice of Apparent Liability against each NBC
affiliate that aired the unedited program.
Brent Bozell, Founder and
President of the Parents Television Council and Executive
Director, Tim Winter were at the White House Thursday, June
witness President Bush signing the Broadcast Decency
Enforcement Act, increasing fines from $32,500 per incident
to $325,000 per incident.
"We hope that the hefty
fines will cause the multi-billion dollar broadcast networks
to finally take the law seriously," said Bozell.
President Bush cited the
PTC study "The
Blue Tube" in his statement to emphasize the overwhelming need for broadcaster
Click here to view
the video and read President Bush's remarks from the bill
►Click here to view
the PTC's timeline on indecency issues from 1934 through the
"Almost single-handedly, the PTC has become a national clearing house for, and arbiter of, decency..."
- Time Magazine, March 28, 2005
"The Parents Television Council is the big 800-pound gorilla in the room," says
David Carlin, an attorney at Reed Smith, who specialises in indecency cases. -
Times, June 14, 2005
Most Viewers Favor TV Decency Rule Enforcement
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center showed that 75% of the 1,505
adults polled would like to see tighter enforcement of
government rules on broadcast content, particularly when children are most
likely to be watching; 60% want indecency standards extended to
cable TV; and 69% want higher fines for media companies.
Parents Television Council,
Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The
nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting
children against sex, violence and profanity in
entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval,
and Family Guide to Prime Time Television
are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.