WASHINGTON, D.C., April 4, 2013 ( – The FCC is seeking comments from the public as they consider relaxing their obscenity standards for broadcast television and radio. If adopted the new, lower standards would allow brief “non-sexual” nudity and isolated expletives even during prime time, when most families are typically watching with their children.

Currently, broadcasters face heavy fines for violations of the indecency policy, which bans strong curse words and most nudity. But as media culture grows coarser, the backlog of reported offenses has grown unmanageable for the FCC, leading Chairman Julius Genachowski to order the Enforcement Bureau to reduce the backlog by focusing only on “egregious cases” and dismissing as many of the others as they can.

Since September 2012, the Bureau has reduced its case load by 70 percent, according to a memo released Monday by the FCC. More than a million indecency complaints have been dismissed, many of them because the statute of limitations had expired or they were considered “too stale to pursue.”


Now, the Commission is seeking public comment on whether or not they should permanently relax the indecency standard to include only the most egregious offenses.

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, is urging those concerned about the impact of the proposed policy on children to take advantage of the public comment period and tell the FCC not to relax the rules.

“American society is moving further and further away from the Biblical standards of morals and decency set by God, to the point that we have to worry about what our children view in the supermarket checkout, in their school textbooks, and now even in their own homes on television and radio,” said Wildmon. “We’re urging the FCC to uphold high decency standards in entertainment in order to protect America’s children and families.”

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Specifically, the FCC is asking citizens to weigh in on how much cursing is too much, and whether nudity should be treated differently than swearing. Citizens are also invited to offer their thoughts on anything else having to do with the indecency standards.

The filing period lasts only through the end of the month.

Comments may be submitted to the FCC online by using the Electronic Filing System and referencing Proceeding No. 13-86, or by referencing GN Docket No. 13-86 through mail at:

Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554

For additional instructions and ways to contact the FCC, read their press release here.