Court ‘cancels’ FCC ban

Well it looks as though parents are going to have to do it for themselves.

Much to the chagrin of the government a recent decision handed down by a federal appeals court, a regulation concerning indecent programming on broadcast and cable TV, was declared unconstitutional. In a different ruling, the same court “canceled” a second FCC regulation which gave cable operators the ability to ban programming it deemed indecent from leased-access channels.

The court ruled that both FCC regulations banning indecent TV and radio broadcasts between 6 a.m. and midnight were an infringement upon freedom of speech.

Although the intentions behind the regulations were well meaning, this court ruling forces a truth upon the government and American society. The truth is the government cannot be expected to be the watch dogs for what children are and are not exposed to on TV. In essence the court ruling is saying—that’s what parents are for.

What is sad is that in today’s families of single parents or the need for two working parents, the people children need most to help guide them are not always able to be there for them. But this does not mean that the government should step in for them either. Somehow our society must solve this problem another way.

Parents are not always going to be able to shelter their children from violence or from crude and indecent acts and language.

Still, there is a certain period in a young child’s life where they can be sheltered as well as taught that what they may encounter later in life—be it through television or out in the real world—is not necessarily how the world always works.

The “safe harbor” hours, midnight to 6 a.m., are not unreasonable hours for anyone to expect children to not be watching television. If they are, then the children are not being properly supervised by the parents and it is not something the courts can control or the FCC. It is not up to the courts or the FCC to parent children.

The FCC has placed the watch dog responsibility where it belongs—on the shoulders of the parents. Let’s hope parents take the responsibility seriously.