Ryan Indecent, Says NRB Chief

The trade group for religious broadcast stations expressed surprise that Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell has apparently voted to dismiss indecency complaints filed against ABC affiliates for airing an unedited version of the movie Saving Private Ryan.

The FCC’s Media Bureau has recommended dismissing the complaint and FCC chairman Michael Powell has voted in favor of the bureau’s recommendation.

The other four commissioners have not cast their votes.

Frank Wright, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, said that stations should not have an open-ended right to air the movie, which includes extreme violence and soldiers swearing, in hours when children are likely to be watching.

Giving Saving Private Ryan a pass simply because the movie attempts to depict combat as true-to-life as possible “misses the mark,” Wright said. “Chairman Powell asserts that context is crucial in deciding whether a show is indecent.  While that is certainly true, it is incomplete.”  The likelihood that children would have been in the audience when the show aired should have been the deciding factor, he said.

“When there are children likely in the viewing audience, indecency must be restricted.”