The Federal Communications Commission hints at enforcement of indecency laws on TV, but there is pushback from the networks to let the lewdness continue.
American Family Association and several other groups met May 6 with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in the nation's capital.
Among concerns shared with Wheeler were plans announced by the FCC to relax broadcast decency rules. That allowance would permit more profanity and nudity on NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox.
Randy Sharp, AFA special projects director, says Wheeler also heard concerns about the backlog of approximately 3,000 public complaints filed with the FCC.
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"And we felt like the feedback was positive in that they were going to begin addressing this backlog of complaints," he says.
Sharp points out that the FCC is under intense pressure from the networks to keep its nose out of their business, which is making money off indecent programming.
"Well, we don't think that's going to happen," Sharp tells OneNewsNow. "There were indications by the chairman that the networks would have to comply with current laws."
In the 1970s, TV networks adopted a "Family Viewing Hour" due to public outcry over indecent programming. That requirement was fought in court on First Amendment grounds and overturned in 1976. There is still a push to clean up early-evening programming to make it appropriate for family viewing.
If the TV networks don't want to abide by rules about the public airwaves, says Sharp, he suggests they move to cable or satellite.
"Just like Howard Stern did a couple of years ago," Sharp says, referring to the vulgar shock jock.
Cable and satellite programming is not governed by the FCC and its decency rules, which is why HBO, Showtime and others are allowed to air controversial programs without fear of overstepping decency laws.
Local TV stations that carry network programming could face fines or loss of license if the laws and standards are violated.
Other pro-family organizations that attended the meeting with Wheeler included Focus on the Family, Decent TV, Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council, and Morality in Media. Their representatives are pictured in photo above.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.
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