US Media Watchdog Buckles Under Indecency Complaints

10 February 2005

US media regulator the Federal Communications Commission is currently overwhelmed by a torrent of complaints at explicit radio and TV content.

The FCC is recruiting more staff and revising its procedures as it struggles to deal with the wailing and gnashing of teeth by America's neo-puritans over alleged indecency on TV and radio.

Last year the FCC received more than one million complaints, compared with just 111 in 2000, prompting Outraged of Oklahoma and likeminded lobbyists to complain at the length of time taken to deal with their complaints.

In addition to an overhaul of its systems the FCC, currently awaiting news of a replacement for retiring chairman Michael Powell, has imposed tougher fines on offending broadcasters [WAMN: 15-Oct-2004] and has itself lobbied for license revocation hearings.

Last month both houses of Congress reintroduced stalled legislation that will allow the FCC to increase indecency fines, with one proposal lifting the maximum penalty fifteen-fold from $32,500 (€25k, £17.5k) to $500,000.

Data sourced from Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff