An IVTV episode originally scheduled to air May 9, and postponed after Channel 17 questioned its graphic nature, will be broadcast this evening.
Concerns over possible “obscene” content of the show compelled Cox Communications, which provides the studio for the public-access channel Com-17, to keep the episode off the air until further review. The episode, which shows a woman fellating a man dressed as a priest, was not shown because the network felt the content could be categorized as obscene, violating Federal Communications Commission standards.
After examination by their lawyers, Cox Communications executives decided to allow the episode to air tonight at 10:30 on Channel 17.
IVTV creators Sevan Matossian and Greg Shields said placing restrictions on the show’s content violates the public-access channel’s guidelines, which state, “It is the intent to afford the opportunity for all members to produce programming without fear of censorship; however, if a program could be interpreted as obscene, the program may be scheduled after 10 p.m.”
“The most important issue is that in the Channel 17 rulebook, you are not supposed to have censorship, but they have completely retracted that statement,” Shields said.
David Edelman, station manager and director for public affairs at Cox Communications, said the decision not to air the episode was an effort to ensure compliance with FCC standards.
“We took it off the air as a temporary move to have our attorneys look at the content to see whether it was obscene according to the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of obscene,” he said. “They definitely said the content was indecent, but not obscene. We’ll definitely be putting it back on the air.”
Matossian said Cox Communications’ action contradicts the mission of public-access television.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time they are straight up with us; [Com-17] told us that you guys can air anything once,” he said. “Anywhere else you would see a priest with a dildo hanging out of his pants the whole community would see it as blasphemous, as sacrilegious, but when people in I.V. see it, it’s a small token of a rebellious act. The checks and balances were here.”
Matossian said while IVTV’s content is only a reflection of I.V. occurrences – more claims of obscenity are not unlikely.
“As long as people in I.V. are doing things that are not ‘socially acceptable’, it will be questioned by other people,” he said. “Our show has been dealing with claims of obscenity since they saw this Halloween episode where they thought [a fake penis] was really a penis and it wasn’t, so the cable lawyers saw it and let it go.”
Matossian said the cameras do not incite indecent activity around the community, but accurately reflect I.V. occurrences.
“For every one person that acts up for the camera three people will shy away,” he said. “We are out there filming and trying to have a good time in a relaxed setting. We are just showing parts of I.V. and keeping it real.”