FCC Opens Docket For Comment On Indecency Rule Enforcement
April 3, 2013 at 4:54 AM (PT)
The FCC has opened a docket (GN Docket No. 13-86) for comment on whether it should only move forward with processing the "most egregious" broadcast indecency complaints, as it announced that it has reduced its backlog of indecency complaints by over one million (70%). Comments will be due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, with replies due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
The Commission said that Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI, after the FCC v. FOX TELEVISION STATIONS, INC. indecency decision by the SUPREME COURT, instructed Commission staff last SEPTEMBER to review the Commission’s broadcast indecency policies and directed the Enforcement Bureau to focus its indecency enforcement resources on egregious cases by "closing pending complaints that were beyond the statute of limitations or too stale to pursue, that involved cases outside FCC jurisdiction, that contained insufficient information, or that were foreclosed by settled precedent."
The new docket asks for comment on "whether the full Commission should make changes to its current broadcast indecency policies or maintain them as they are," whether the Commission should "treat isolated expletives in a manner consistent with our decision in PACIFICA" (the "seven words you can't say on television" case) or instead base it on the "GOLDEN GLOBES" fleeting expletives case; whether isolated nudity should be treated the same or differently than isolated expletives; and any other aspect of the indecency policies.
The PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL's TIM WINTER called the FCC's action "deeply vexing... It unnecessarily weakens a decency law that withstood a ferocious, 10-year constitutional attack waged by the broadcast industry. It invites yet another wave of special interest pressure to obviate the intent of Congress and the will of the American people."