The U.S. Supreme Court has taken a strong stand for decency in two recent rulings. I give the Parents Television Council a great deal of credit for these rulings. This was a major victory in the fight to protect children and families from indecent content airing on the broadcast airwaves. In one case, the High Court has ordered the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to reexamine its ruling that gutted the $550,000 fine levied by the Federal Communications Commission against CBS. As you will recall, the FCC fined CBS for allowing Janet Jackson’s “striptease” to be aired during the 2004 Super Bowl, which shocked tens of millions of unsuspecting families and children. The Supreme Court, in its decision last month, sided not only with families, but with Congress and the overwhelming will of the American people in asking the Third Circuit to take another look at its ruling.
The Supreme Court, just a week prior to that opinion being released, had ruled that “fleeting” violations of the broadcast decency law can be considered indecent and result in fines for broadcasters. The Court affirmed the FCC’s ability to sanction a broadcaster for so-called “fleeting” violations of the broadcast decency law. That certainly is a step in the right direction and was the right thing to do.
If broadcasters are going to use the publicly-owned airwaves for free, they must also agree to abide by the terms of their licenses and by the broadcast decency law. The FCC should now act quickly on the backlog of broadcast indecency complaints filed by the public. The two recent Supreme Court decisions are huge victories for families. But, as expected, the TV Networks are gearing up for more legal challenges to fight common sense decency standards. An overwhelming majority of the American people – in my opinion – want television programming to be free of the “junk” that we have seen over the past few years.
I consider what the U.S. Supreme Court has done in these cases to be most important. Parents and others who want children protected are the real winners. Finding that the FCC does indeed have the authority to fine TV networks for using the “F-word” in front of children and ruling against CBS for their broadcast of the Janet Jackson “striptease,” the Supreme Court has given hope to the people. These two legal victories positively and profoundly affect every family in America.
Source: Parents Television Council
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