RSS - Regulations, Statutes and Standards TMC

FCC Defends Right To Fine Broadcasters For Vulgar Language

December 6, 2006

Today the FCC defended its right to issue profanity findings against vulgar language on television.

The justifications were contained in a filing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based on a challenge to fines issued for relatedviolations- as well as a challenge to the authority of the FCC to rule on such matters.

The FCC said that prior rulings condemning such words as "fuck" and "shit" are reactions to transgressions so specific that they leave no doubt as to their profane nature.

While the FCC reversed the fine, the regulators noted that Fox did not contest the "f" fine on any artistic grounds, or was consistent with any community standards.

In one such related case, filing on Fox Broadcastings's side NBC had contested that Bono's utterance of the term "fucking brilliant" during the 2003 Golden Globes telecast merely employed the "f" word as an "intensifier," rather than as an end unto itself. 

Yet taking the bigger picture, the commission also maintained that the nature of broadcast (as opposed to cable) spectrum is a "scarce resource," not entitled to broadly tolerant forms of speech regulation.

The FCC further argued that because broadcast spectrum is a scarce resource, broadcasters First Amendment protection is limited, and that the justification for speech regulation need only be substantial and the means narrowly tailored, rather than the "least restrictive means" test applied to other forms of speech regulation.

Finally, the FCC argued that so called tech solutions, such as the V-chip, are often ineffective and non-responsive in terms of screening out objectionable language that child viewers might hear.

Broadcaster rebuttals are expected soon.

Related Tags:

Listed below are links to sites that reference FCC Defends Right To Fine Broadcasters For Vulgar Language:

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for FCC Defends Right To Fine Broadcasters For Vulgar Language:

Comments to FCC Defends Right To Fine Broadcasters For Vulgar Language

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)