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Broadcasters Seeks More Documentation Of Indecency Complaints

Broadcast groups are beginning to coalesce
around a proposal by NBCUniversal that the FCC require much more documentation
before it takes action on an indecency complaint.

Like other
broadcaster, NBCU would prefer the FCC get out of the indecency regulation
business given the changes in the marketplace that make broadcasters neither
uniquely pervasive or accessible to children. But if it does stay in that
business, NBCU proposed in initial comments to the FCC in June that an
indecency complainant have to certify that he, she, or they had:

  • Viewed the
    programming at issue on the date and at the time stated in the complaint;
  • Received the
    programming via the station's over-the-air signal, and not through a
    subscription MVPD service, such as cable or satellite TV, or via the Internet
    or other online service;
  • Viewed the
    programming in the company of a minor child
  • Viewed the programming
    at a time outside the safe-harbor hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (with appropriate adjustments, as suggested above, for
    the Central and Mountain time zones).

NBCU also said they
should have to supply either a tape or written description of the alleged
violation and have to file it within 30 days of the broadcast.

In reply comments
filed late last week, a group of major broadcast groups cited NBCU's list and
said they supported it.  "Joint Broadcasters particularly endorse the
complaint processing standards suggested by NBCUniversal in its comments,"
said those Joint Broadcasters,
which include Cox Media, FoxCo, Granite, Local TV Holdings, and Media General.

The comments came in
the FCC's request for comment on whether it should continue to apply an
"egregious" complaint standard, revert to its fleeting indecency
enforcement, or take some other route. Reply comments were due Aug. 2.