Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rep. Forbes Urges FCC to Uphold Current Decency Standards

Washington, D.C. - Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) led a bipartisan group of 20 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in sending a letter to Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging him to reject any and all proposals that would relax current policies on broadcast decency standards. 
On April 1, 2013, the FCC announced that it was seeking comments on whether the Commission should change current decency standards that ban explicit profanity and non-sexual nudity in favor of targeting only egregious offenses. The proposed changes were prompted by a backlog of indecency complaints that the FCC has continued to ignore rather than address. To date, over 92,000 Americans have responded by filing comments with the FCC.
"The FCC's inability to keep pace with the volume of legitimate indecency complaints should not be the basis for relaxing a constructive broadcast decency policy," Forbes said. "It is unacceptable to relax the standard and expose individuals to words and images, no matter how fleeting, simply because the current standard generates too many complaints."  
In FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., in 2009, the United States Supreme Court upheld the FCC's regulations regarding decency standards, holding that they were neither arbitrary nor capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act. Chief Justice Robert noted in his concurring opinion that, "the brevity of an indecent broadcast – be it word or image – cannot immunize it from FCC Censure."