Welcome to MiND: Media Independence, a website owned and operated
by Independence Public Media of Philadelphia, Inc., a non-profit
entity ("MiND", the "MiND Site" or the "Site").
MiND is a global learning network whose mission is to provide television and related services to underserved audiences. MiND provides learning opportunities through a video stream and on demand access by computer and also provides its services broadcast on analog channel 35 and digital channel 34 in Philadelphia, PA.
Unlike the internet, broadcast television stations must adhere to strict guidelines established, maintained and monitored by each local community and by the Federal government.
Since MiND must adhere to these rules, all MIND producers must adhere to these rules as well.
We encourage every MiND producer to read this entire web page before submitting a program to MiND.
Obscenity, Profanity, and Indecency
The rules regarding obscenity, profanity and indency may be difficult to understand, and, often, require the interpretation of an attorney skilled in the ways of the FCC.
In general, it is best to avoid the inclusion of material that a reasonable person would perceive to be obscene, profane, or indecent. As a rule, MIND does not broadcast obscene, profane or indecent material, but MiND may schedule, in its sole discretion, certain material that has artistic, journalistic or educational value and contains a limited amount of indecent material after 10PM and before 6AM. In general, though, we discourage the use of obscene, profane or indecent material, and MiND is very likely to reject a program containing such material, unless we determine, in our sole discretion, that a very compelling reason for its inclusion exists. The additional information below only begins to detail a fairly complicated, and sometimes inconsistent, group of laws, regulations, and interpretations.
According to the FCC, “Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution…” The Supreme Court has determined that, to be obscene, material must meet a three-pronged test: “An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;” and “the material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law;” and “the material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
The FCC defines "indecency as language or material that, in context, depicts, or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities." Indecency: The FCC defines “indecency as language or material that, in context, depicts, or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.” We prefer the more “bodily functions” instead of “excretory.”
Community Standards with Regard to Obscenity, Indecency and Profanity:
From time to time, the staff of MiND conducts a formal session in the Philadelphia region to discuss community standards with community members. Also, we meet regularly with our Community Advisory Board (CAB) to discuss community standards. For information about these community meetings, visit www.independencemedia.org. Based upon feedback from the community, and advice from our legal counsel, and based upon current broadcast industry practices, our staff determines, in its sole discretion, appropriate criteria for “prurient interest,” “patently offensive,” “sexual conduct,” and “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
Human Body, Human Relations:
In general, the rules regarding obscenity and indecency apply to nudity, sexuality, and other bodily functions. MiND is not to be used for pornography or sexually explicit content.
We define nudity as the exposure of bare skin that is typically covered by undergarments. The FCC may rule that certain instances involving nudity are acceptable, and that certain instances are not. There are no firm rules, so we tend to operate on the conservative side. Our community has told us that tasteful, content-appropriate nudity is acceptable, particularly if the appearances are brief.
As a rule, nudity is discouraged, but in certain instances, some limited nudity may be permitted. These instances may include artistic expression (which is interpreted narrowly), medical instruction, and journalism (that is, the nudity is central to the story, and the story cannot be told without the nudity).
Nudity involving minors is not acceptable under any circumstances. Additional guidance: if nudity is required in your program, keep it tasteful, keep it brief, and make certain that the story cannot be told effectively without the nudity. We’ll use the same criteria in deciding whether to accept or reject the program.
Bearing in mind that the above rules regarding nudity are likely to apply, community standards regarding sex on television are generally quite conservative. Once again, our guidance: if sexual relations are required in your program, keep the scene(s) tasteful, brief, and make certain that the story cannot be told effectively without the visualization of sexual relations. We’ll use the same criteria in deciding whether to accept or reject the program.
Other Bodily Functions:
Our rules generally prohibit programs which show or depict excrement.
Abuse, Violence, and Illegal Acts
Our rules generally prohibit programs which show or depict gratuitous profanity, illegal acts and acts of violence. MiND will not broadcast any promotion of dangerous acts, such as animal abuse or bomb making. However, in journalistic reports and certain artistic expressions, a very limited amount of this content may be used to illustrate a particular point.
In general, programs containing language or material implying derogatory reference to any ethnicity, race, creed, sexuality or gender will be rejected. MiND is uninterested in material which promotes malicious use of stereotypes, hate speech, slurs, etc. If a program containing such language is determined to be of superior journalistic or artistic value, then it may be considered, but few programs are likely be judged in this manner.
In general, programs containing the use, promotion, and/or presentation of substances or paraphernalia considered illegal by the U.S. Government will be rejected. These include alcohol, cigarettes and any illegal substance used to alter mind or body. If a program containing substance abuse is judged to be of superior journalistic value, then it may be considered, but few programs are likely be determined by us to be acceptable.
Acts of Violence
In general, we define violent acts are defined as “any act of aggression” that harms any person, animal or other entity emotionally, psychologically or physically. In general, programs containing acts of violence, or the promotion of acts of violence, will be rejected. If a program containing such language is judged to be of superior journalistic value, then it may be considered, but few programs are likely be judged in this manner. MiND is uninterested in shock video, such as programs which show people getting hurt, accidents, or intentionally graphic war footage.
Acts of Hatred
In general, we define hatred as “a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action.” In general, we will reject any program that includes hateful language or the presentation of actions that imply or that depict hatred or acts of hatred toward any individual, group, animal or other entity, or the promotion of such acts. If a program containing acts of hatred is judged to be of superior journalistic or artistic value, then it may be considered, but few programs are likely be judged in this manner.
In general, we define an illegal act as any act that is prohibited by local, state, or Federal law. We do not permit the promotion, education, or encouragement of such acts, and will reject any program that includes this material.
Protection of Intellectual Property Rights
MiND respects copyright. MiND respects rights of personal privacy. MiND does not knowingly broadcast or distribute programs that are inconsistent with these rights. Further, MiND is uninterested in material that involves predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, invasion of privacy.
Promotion of Special Interests
Special interest groups, including political and religious groups, are encouraged to become members of MIND, and to submit programs for review. There are no specific restrictions on programs from special interest groups.
Promotion of Commercial Interests
For-profit companies are encouraged to become members of MIND, and to submit programs for review. Several specific restrictions apply. Programs must not:
Directly promote a specific product or service, but may instead provide consumer education or another learning benefit.
Promote one specific consumer or commercial product or service, but may include multiple product or service names, demonstrations, or illustrations.
Include any specific call to action, nor specific information about product or service availability, nor pricing, nor other promotions.
Be funded by the same entity that controls its editorial content.
Programs must include a full and truthful disclosure of funding source.
Promotion of Political Interests and/or Candidates
MiND encourages articulate, well-researched political and social commentary and debate, but strongly discourages negative campaigning. As a rule, MiND encourages candidates to voice their opinions and points of view as citizens and leaders, while refraining from attacks of other candidates, political parties or organizations.
How We Apply Our Rules
In order to maintain a broadcast operation in a legal manner that is also consistent with community standards, we tend to apply rules very broadly. Don’t look for loopholes—our intention is to provide the community with a service that which involves a high level of personal respect and integrity.
We certainly encourage a broad interpretation of free speech, and we actively pursue content from diverse sources, and we always encourage our producers to present a wide range of creative, progressive ideas. But we must all work within the rules.