Martin and Copps respond to indecency ruling


As one would expect, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is very much displeased with yesterday's court ruling that the accidental usage of profanities on network TV was not indecent. In a statement, Martin said, "I completely disagree with the Court’s ruling and am disappointed for American families. I find it hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that “shit” and “fuck” are fine to say on broadcast television during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience."

Martin continued, "If ever there was an appropriate time for Commission action, this was it. If we can’t restrict the use of the words 'fuck' and 'shit; during prime time, Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want." He also quoted the entire transcript of Cher and Nicole Richie during the two Billboard Music Award incidents from 2002 and 2003.

The Chairman suggested that a solution to such issues lies in further parental control. "Permitting parents to have more choice in the channels they receive may prove to be the best solution to content concerns. All of the potential versions of a la carte would avoid government regulation of content while enabling consumers, including parents, to receive only the programming they want and believe to be appropriate for their families. Providing consumers more choice would avoid the First Amendment concerns of content regulation, while providing real options for Americans."

Commissioner Michael Copps also issued a statement in response, noting his disappointment: "This decision is disappointing to me and to millions of parents and concerned citizens across the land. But it doesn't change the FCC's legal obligation to enforce the indecency statute. So any broadcaster who sees this decision as a green light to send more gratuitous sex and violence into our homes would be making a huge mistake. The FCC has a duty to find a way to breathe life into the laws that protect our kids. That may entail an appeal of this decision. Certainly it includes strong enforcement action of the many indecency complaints before us that are untouched by today's decision. Enforcing the laws against indecency, profanity and obscenity must remain a Commission priority—America's families and children expect and deserve no less."

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