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FCC looks to fine tune its indecency rules

by AirTalk®

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Justin Timberlake stands onstage in front of a video of himself and Janet Jackson from Super Bowl XXXVIII onstage at the 2008 ESPY Awards held at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on July 16, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Federal Communications Commission is looking into possibly relaxing its indecency rules. The commission asked the public for comment this week on a proposal that would shift the agency’s focus to target only “egregious” indecency cases.  

The move comes in the wake of a Supreme Court decision in 2012, which found the FCC rules on “fleeting expletives” too vague. A fleeting expletive is an unscripted verbal profanity or brief nudity that’s broadcast on a TV or radio show. The FCC started to stepped up its efforts on cracking down on this kind of indecency violations after receiving numerous complaints for several incidents, including Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction in the half-time show of the Super Bowl in 2004.

Should the FCC loosen its indecency rules? Are indecency rules even relevant today, given more and more people go online to get their entertainment? Are indecency rules unfair to network broadcasters?

Dan Isett, Director of Public Policy at The Parents Television Council

Julian Sanchez, research fellow at the Cato Institute

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