FCC Issues Stricter Indecency Guidelines

by Ed Vitagliano

(AgapePress) – The Federal Communications Commission, following increased public concern over vulgar talk radio, has issued indecency standards which Daily Variety, an entertainment trade magazine, called “unprecedented” and a “stun gun [pulled] on shock jocks.”

In a press statement in April, FCC Commissioner Susan Ness spoke of a public that is outraged by the vulgar content of radio and television broadcasts. “The flood of letters and E-mails we receive reflect a high degree of anger,” she said.

While Ness admitted that the FCC obviously must respect the First Amendment, she said the agency wants to “provide helpful guidance to broadcasters and the public alike.” That guidance attempts to spell out what type of language is considered actionably indecent — meaning that the Commission might take action about an on-air incident if a citizen filed a complaint.

According to a copy of the policy, which is available at the FCC website (www.fcc.gov), the factors which guide the commissioners in determining indecency are: “(1) the explicitness of graphic nature of the description or depiction of sexual or excretory organs or activities; (2) whether the material dwells on or repeats at length descriptions of sexual or excretory organs or activities; (3) whether the material appears to pander or is used to titillate, or whether the material appears to have been presented for its shock value” (emphasis in original).

The policy also said the context in which a potentially indecent segment might have aired would help the FCC make a decision. A serious show discussing sex education, for example, might not be indecent even if some fairly graphic language was used.

A Colorado radio station — KKMG-FM in Colorado Springs — has already been hit by the FCC with a $7,000 indecency fine after playing the song “The Real Slim Shady” by controversial rap artist Eminem. The station reportedly had played an edited version of the song, but the FCC said even that version contained unmistakable sexual references. The new guidelines issued by the FCC make it clear that innuendo is a factor when determining if on-air material is obscene and indecent.

Cable Network to Air Movie Reviews with Christian Perspective

by Allie Martin and Jody Brown

(AgapePress) – A national cable television network is airing a resource for families concerned about the movies their children are viewing.

PAX Television has started running 60-second movie reviews from Christian media expert Dr. Ted Baehr, who has been dubbed the world's foremost family movie critic. The reviews look at popular secular movies from a Christian perspective, and as Baehr says, “families are in need of such a resource.”

“It's a great opportunity for parents to know before their kids go. It's a great opportunity for kids who want to be media-wise, to do the right thing, and to be able to select good materials.”

Baehr, founder and chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, says Christian families should take every opportunity to search out biblically-based movie reviews. He says while most parents say they are concerned about the media that their kids watch, a study from the University of Wisconsin showed that the majority of parents “won't take five minutes a day to teach their kids to be media-wise.”

PAX Television is the nation's seventh largest television network. It was founded three years ago with a commitment to airing family-friendly programming. It has recently aired such fare as Christy: Choices of the Heart, a two-part miniseries based on characters in Catherine Marshall's novel Christy; and the Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Awards Gala, sometimes called “The Christian Oscars” — an event sponsored by Baehr's organization that recognizes Hollywood's best family and inspirational movies and television programs.

(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)

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