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TV audiences file fewer indecency complaints



Published: Fri, August 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



LOS ANGELES TIMES

Complaints about indecent or obscene content on radio and television declined dramatically in the first quarter of 2005, compared with the last quarter of 2004, according to a report released this month by the Federal Communications Commission.

That doesn't necessarily mean radio and TV stations have cleaned up their act. Instead, FCC officials attributed the marked drop -- which saw complaints plummet from 317,833 to 157,650 from one quarter to the next -- to the end of e-mail and write-in campaigns aimed at certain television and radio stations. The report did not identify which organizations were behind the campaigns or which broadcasters were targeted.

In early 2004, religious and parent groups across the United States mobilized to support stricter moral standards in broadcasting after Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl halftime show. In the quarter that included the exposure of the pop singer's breast on live television, the FCC received 693,080 complaints about indecent or obscene programming.

The incident sparked a nationwide debate about the boundaries of taste for both media and fueled calls for heavier fines against transgressors, such as shock-jock Howard Stern.




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