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06.09.2008
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
FOX asks court to dismiss reality show indecency case

Attorneys for News Corp., representing its FOX network, have asked a federal appeals court to dismiss a government lawsuit against the network for refusing to pay an indecency fine.

The fine stems from a 2003 episode of FOX’s short-lived reality TV show “Married in America”. The episode involved the airing of nudity, although some images were distorted through the use of pixelization. The FCC ruled the distortion didn’t matter — it was still indecent.

News Corp. refused to pay the $91,000 fine, which had been lowered from the FCC’s original fine of $1.12 million. FOX’s refusal to pay the fine forced the Department of Justice to file a motion in federal court seeking to collect.

In the petition to dismiss the complaint, FOX said the images depicted in the episode don’t rise to the FCC’s own standard of indecency.

“The FCC asserts that the broadcast in question depicted people ‘straddling’ one another or touching, but it doesn’t allege that the broadcast displayed any actual sexual activity. In fact, the complaint makes clear that any nudity was blocked from view by pixilation,” the petition said.

The motion was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.



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