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House Republicans Say SCOTUS Indecency Ruling Demonstrates Need for FCC Reform

WASHINGTON: Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said today’s Supreme Court decision in FCC vs. Fox illustrated the need for more transparency from the Federal Communications Commission.

The Supreme Court ruled that the FCC did not give networks fair notice that certain fleeting expletives and nudity would be grounds for censure.

“It has long been a priority of ours to protect family values, which is why we have fought to ensure that the rules on the books are properly enforced,” Walden said. “The Supreme Court ruled today that the FCC’s indecency regulations were too vague at the time of the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Awards and ‘NYPD Blue’ incidents to give Fox and ABC fair notice of the applicable standards.

“This highlights once again the need for the FCC to conduct its business through a more transparent and orderly process, allowing for better input and decision-making. How much longer can we allow bad process to produce bad results? The time is now for reform, such as those included in the FCC Reform Act. In the meantime, today’s ruling reinforces the responsibility of broadcasters to represent their communities. Most of them know and do the right thing, and we urge them to continue to listen to the public and uphold appropriate community standards that protect families and children.”

Upton said that, “although the decision focused on the FCC's failure to provide due process, the larger underlying issue remains: The importance of protecting both our Constitution and our families and communities. I would remind executives in New York and Hollywood that they should act responsibly when it comes to the entertainment they are sending, via the public's airwaves, into family rooms across the country.”

The FCC Reform Act, which was approved in the House, awaits action by the Senate.