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FCC Must Enforce Indecency Rules, Prof. Jeff McCall '76 Writes in Op-Ed

January 24, 2004

January 24, 2004, Greencastle, Ind. - "Similar to the prisoner who finds religion on the way to the gallows, Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell now is ready to get tough on broadcast indecency," begins an op-ed by Jeffrey McCall, professor of communication arts and sciences at DePauw University, published in today's Indianapolis Star. "In recent remarks, Powell said he wants to increase financial penalties for dirty broadcasters," writes McCall, who says the FCC chief seems to be adopting a tougher tone in the wake of moves by Congress to take matters into its own hands. The implicit message, Dr. McCall says, is "fix this indecency mess or we'll do it for you. Chairman Powell surely doesn't want that."

McCall, a 1976 graduate of DePauw, concludes, "Defenders of broadcast smut will say the FCC indecency rules are too vague to enforce. The solution to the vagueness, however, is not 'anything goes.' If the FCC doesn't enforce the rules, they have no rules... This process will be lengthy and legally messy for the FCC. But it won't be easier if it's handled through congressional action. If the federal government can keep tobacco advertising (a legal product, by the way) off the air and effectively suppress the broadcast advertising of hard liquor, it should be able to effectively manage and restrict the broadcast of offensive language."

You can read the column in its entirety at College News.org.

Source: Indianapolis Star

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