Regulation of Broadcast Indecency: Background and Legal Analysis [Updated June 8, 2006]   [open pdf - 150KB]

"Two prominent television events in the past two years placed increased attention on the FCC and its indecency regulations. The airing of the 2003 Golden Globe Awards and the subsequent ruling by the FCC's [Federal Communications Commission] Enforcement Bureau, coupled with the controversy surrounding the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, brought broadcast indecency to the forefront of the congressional agenda during the 108th Congress. Several bills were introduced, but not enacted, in the 108th Congress to increase the penalties imposed for broadcast indecency and to prohibit the broadcast of certain words and phrases in any grammatical form. Similar legislation aimed at increasing penalties has been introduced in the 109th Congress (H.R. 310, S. 193, S. 616). Other legislation addressing specific types of programming has also been introduced (H.R. 1420 and H.R. 1440). This report provides background on the two events in question, discusses the legal evolution of the FCC's indecency regulations, and provides an overview of how the current regulations have been applied and pending legislation. The final section of the report considers whether prohibiting the broadcast of 'indecent' words regardless of context would violate the First Amendment."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32222
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Center: http://www.fpc.state.gov/
Media Type:
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