Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Court Rebuffs F.C.C. on Fines for Indecency

If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts.

That, in essence, was the decision on Monday, when a federal appeals panel struck down the government policy that allows stations and networks to be fined if they broadcast shows containing obscene language.

Although the case was primarily concerned with what is known as “fleeting expletives,” or blurted obscenities, on television, both network executives and top officials at the Federal Communications Commission said the opinion could gut the ability of the commission to regulate any speech on television or radio.

Kevin J. Martin, the chairman of the F.C.C., said that the agency was now considering whether to seek an appeal before all the judges of the appeals court or to take the matter directly to the Supreme Court. (MORE from NY Times)

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