Four networks challenge FCC on indecency in Supreme Court

February 11, 2008

Calling the entire FCC enforcement mechanism for indecency unconstitutional, four major television networks have asked the Supreme Court not to take the FCC’s appeal of a lower court ruling, declaring the FCC’s crackdown on fleeting expletives arbitrary, capricious and unjustified.

ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC said the lower court got the ruling right. “If the commission is not required to justify changes in its views as to the meaning of particular words (which is to say, speech) — if it is permitted to redefine words at its pleasure, there is not effective limit on the subject matter scope of the commission’s indecency jurisdiction,” NBC wrote.

Unlike FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC did not have any programming cited in the FCC “fleeting profanity” indecency ruling that the court struck down.

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