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Can broadcasters be fined for profanity on TV?

Posted by on April 24, 2011 in In The News - Comments Off

The Supreme Court was asked to settle whether the FCC can continue to police the airwaves for indecency.

The Obama Administration asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to fine broadcasters for airing indecent words or images.  In recent years, several lower court decisions have put in doubt whether the FCC can police the airwaves.  Last July, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York concluded that the FCC’s policies were “unconstitutionally vague” and violated the First Amendment.  This particular case involved expletives that were uttered on Fox Television during an awards show.   The government now argues that if the lower court cases were allowed to stand, the FCC would not have authority over indecent broadcasting.  If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, it would not do so until next year.

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