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FCC's Indecency Policy Takes Some Heat

The FCC's move under chairman Julius Genachowski to focus on
egregious indecency complaints to help get through the million-plus backlog of
complaints has drawn some attention, and fire, lately, including a story on
cable news Tuesday and a letter from legislators to the FCC concerned about the

CNN did a story Tuesday on the public notice issued April 1
asking for public input on whether the FCC should institute that approach, a
change in focus from the previous enforcement policy of pursuing fleeting
nudity and profanity.

"The FCC may actually loosen the rules governing
profanity on network TV," said Wolf Blitzer. The story pointed out that
there had been more than 90,000 comments on the FCC Web site on the FCC's
public notice, with most saying it was not a good idea.

Elsewhere on the indecency front, according to a copy of the
letter, almost two dozen House Republicans--including media content critic
Frank Wolf (R-Va.)--wrote to Genachowski Monday saying they were "deeply
troubled" by the public notice. "It is imperative that the FCC
maintain current indecency standards during hours when children are undoubtedly
watching or listening to programming," they wrote. Currently the FCC only
enforces those indecency standards between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

"Your unilateral instruction to the Enforcement Bureau
to target its indecency enforcement efforts on egregious cases in order to
reduce the backlog of complaints has effectively already implemented the
changes you are proposing, skirting the proper process for implementing such a
sweeping change," they said.

The Parents Television Council hasalso complained that the FCC had already shifted gears without sufficientnotice and comment.