I suspect this is old news to many, but I only learned of it this week. The FCC is considering loosening decency standards for broadcast television, as well as radio. Parent’s groups are fighting the proposed changes:
The commission on Monday issued a request for public comment on a proposal that would focus on penalizing only “egregious” indecency cases. The proposal would be a shift away from the agency’s policy, adopted during the Bush administration, of penalizing even “fleeting expletives.”
The “fleeting expletives” standard resulted in years of legal battles over curse words uttered during live awards shows and sporting events.
“Either material is legally indecent or it is not,” Winter said. “It is unnecessary for indecent content to be repeated many times in order to be actionable, and it is unwise for the FCC to pursue a new course which will guarantee nothing but a new rash of new litigation.”
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who plans to step down in the coming weeks, did not issue any indecency fines during his four-year tenure. He had noted that the agency’s authority was in legal limbo due to lawsuits claiming the policy violated constitutional free speech rights.
The Supreme Court upheld the FCC’s indecency power in a decision last year.