The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to address the possibility of easing restrictions on nudity and swearing over public airwaves.

Public comment was set to close on Thursday.  The time period to submit a public comment has now been extended through August 2.  This is the second extension issued.

Thehill.com has more:

The FCC is soliciting comments on how to handle infrequent swearing and instances of nudity that are not overtly sexual.

The FCC has been flooded with more than 100,000 submissions, the vast majority from opponents of the proposed action.

Private citizens and traditional values argue there is already too much smut on television, and say there’s plenty of room for more adult entertainment on cable, the Internet and satellite radio.

But the networks contend that times have changed, and say their right to free speech is violated when they are penalized for broadcasting material that has become ubiquitous in other forms of entertainment.

Whether the hard and fast, one strike and you are out rule that had been adopted by the FCC might be too harsh is the subject of the proceeding - and has been the subject of much questioning and litigation since it was adopted.  Critics point to seemingly inconsistent application of the policy (e.g. resulting in fines where certain words were used in the PBS documentary series "The Blues", but not when those same words were used in a Memorial Day airing of "Saving Private Ryan", with an introduction by Senator John McCain).

Should every usage of certain words result in a fine or punishment to broadcasters?

Should context be considered?

Should restrictions be greatly loosened?

So many questions.

Over-the-air warnings and notices provide a good idea of what to expect, but live broadcasts may sometimes bring unwelcome surprises.  Punishing broadcasters every time certain words are used seems extreme, but so does having no restrictions at all.

How do you think the FCC should handle nudity and swearing over public airwaves?

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