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Indecency’s online

FCC site aims to explain regs to public

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a Web site explaining agency rules and procedures regarding broadcast obscenity, indecency and profanity. Site also tries to simplify the process of filing an online complaint, but the electronic filing form is still not operational.

No new definitions or interpretations of obscenity or indecency appear on the site (fcc.gov/eb/oip/Welcome.html).

Instead, it is an attempt to present information on the subjects in a “much more consumer-friendly” fashion, said Penny Nance, an adviser in the FCC’s office of strategic planning. Commission chairman Kevin J. Martin recently hired Nance, an anti-pornography activist, to assist the agency on media issues.

The site “not only educates the public about the law but also makes the process transparent and expeditious,” Nance continued. “Americans can now easily access information and statistics about complaints as well as more clearly understand the information needed or not needed to file a complaint. The new form will empower the consumer to voice their concerns to the FCC with a click.”

Instructions on filing a complaint as well as a flow chart depicting the way a complaint is processed are available on the site, as is other related information.

However, the electronic filing form is still under review, pending a 30-day public comment period to be overseen by the White House Office of Management and Budget. Agency officials expect the form to be ready by the end of the month.

Officials also said Nance was involved in developing the Web site but that Martin had initiated the project before he brought her on board last July.

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