Contact the FCC

File an Official Indecency Complaint with the FCC

To make a indecency complaint to the FCC, you can only file directly on the FCC Consumer Complaint website.

Once on their site, choose the TV option, and then click on the "TV Issues" dropdown menu, and click on "Indecency" to fill out the remaining form.

You will need to know:

  • Description (of the indecent content)
  • TV channel
  • Network* (only use the Broadcast stations - ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox or CW)
  • Name of TV Program
  • Date and Time when the program was aired

By completing this FCC indecency complaint, you will be registering an OFFICIAL COMPLAINT.

Click here for more information about Broadcast Obscenity/Indecency Laws

* In order to be subject to indecency enforcement by the FCC, the show MUST air on a broadcast network (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox or CW) between the hours of 6:00am and 10:00pm. This excludes cable networks or streaming programs.

The Courts have said that obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time. To be considered obscene, material must meet a 3-prong test:

  1. An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient (arousing lustful feelings) interest;
  2. The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
  3. The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Indecency is defined as language or material that, in context, describes or depicts, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community broadcast standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities. Indecent programming contains patently offensive sexual or excretory references that do not rise to the level of obscenity. As such, the courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned entirely. It may, however, be restricted in order to avoid its broadcast during times of the day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience. As such, broadcasts -- both on television and radio -- that fit within the indecency definition and that are aired between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. are subject to indecency enforcement action.

NOTE: These laws DO NOT apply to cable programming.

Worried about indecency on cable?

Take Action. Stay Informed.