(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Clear Channel Communications called on the Federal Communications Commission to convene an industry-wide "Local Values Task Force" to develop indecency guidelines that would apply fairly and evenly across all media platforms that distribute content into people's homes – including television, radio, cable and satellite networks.
"We believe the time has come for every sector of the media to join together and develop consistent standards that are in tune with local community values," said Mark Mays, president and COO of Clear Channel Communications. "Our audiences deserve nothing less."
Mays said the Task Force should be convened under the auspices of the FCC, but that the industry has a unique responsibility to step up to the plate and address the problem head on. "While the government's role is important in this area, there are limits established by the First Amendment to our Constitution," Mays said. "The task of developing guidelines about what is and what is not appropriate is the job of every one of us that delivers content into the home."
Mays added that "indecency is not just a radio problem, a television problem or even a cable problem. It is an industry-wide challenge, and we all must take responsibility to make sure it is addressed on a fair and consistent basis."
Clear Channel suggested the job of the Task Force should be:
* To develop guidelines that carefully balance First Amendment rights with local community values;
* To ensure that all media platforms including television, radio, cable and satellite are treated fairly and equally; and
* To eliminate confusion over what is and is not acceptable behavior over our airwaves and through cable networks into our homes.
"Indecency is not a simple concept. Congress, the FCC, and the courts all have struggled to define it for years," said Mays. "However, we believe all content providers have a responsibility to shield our audiences from indecent programming."
Mays cautioned that by continuing to deal with this issue on a case by case, platform by platform basis, the government is creating an atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty. "All media companies should be held to the same standards," Mays said. "Parents have a right to know what to expect when they change the channel."
Mays said that, as an industry leader, Clear Channel is committed to helping fight this problem and hopes the FCC will bring other leading media companies together to help craft a workable solution. He called for the FCC action as Congress begins scrutiny tomorrow of the agency's enforcement of broadcast indecency violations, and in response to fines against Clear Channel for alleged indecency violations announced by the agency today.
"We work hard every day to entertain, not offend our listeners," said John Hogan, CEO of Clear Channel Radio. "None of us defend or encourage indecent content – it's simply not part of our corporate culture," he said.
Hogan said that Clear Channel employees care deeply about making sure local community values are upheld. "Our employees live and work in the communities they serve," he added "They work hard to make sure the line is not crossed – but that line can get very fuzzy. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner