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June 21, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

All of the major television networks have now filed statements with the FCC asking the regulator to stop policing them for indecency. In its statement, ABC said, “Changes in the marketplace and in technology since 1978 have rendered obsolete the basic assumptions upon which the Supreme Court approved differential treatment for broadcast ‘indecency.” (The indecency rules to not apply to cable networks.) In its filing, CBS said, “The Commission should proceed against alleged broadcast indecency only in the most egregious cases.” NBC made a similar proposal, but added that it did not address the key question of whether the FCC had the authority to impose “lower levels of First Amendment protections” on broadcasters than those guaranteed to other media, “and it is far from clear that the Commission today can adopt or enforce any broadcast-specific indecency regime that will survive constitutional scrutiny.” In its filing, Fox’s remarks were by far the strongest of the four networks, saying, “Fox urges the Commission to conclude that it is legally required, and logically bound, to cease attempting to enforce broadcast indecency limits once and for all. Time and technology have marched inexorably forward, but the Commission’s untenable effort to define indecent content through a hodgepodge of inconsistent and uneven rulings remains stuck in a bygone era.” Meanwhile, the activist group Morality in Media called on FCC Chairman-designate Tom Wheeler to reject the arguments of the TV networks and “follow the will of the American public and vigorously enforce he federal decency law.”