Skip to main content

House Republicans: Supremes Decision Argues for FCC Reforms

The chairs of the House Energy & Commerce Committee,
Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Communications Subcommittee, Greg Walden (R-Ore.),
used the Supreme Court's decision on indecency regs Thursday to make a pitch
for passage of their FCC reform legislation, which passed the House but is not
likely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.

"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," said Walden, a former broadcaster himself, in a statement.
"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."

Walden and Upton both cautioned broadcasters to program to
their audiences, something broadcasters argue they have been doing all along.
"[T]oday's ruling reinforces the responsibility of broadcasters to
represent their communities," said Walden. "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."

"Although the decision focused on the FCC's failure to
provide due process," said Upton, "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."