Fox Appeals $1.8 Million Indecency Fine

Fox Broadcasting is fighting a proposed $1.8 million indecency fine for its show "Married By America" and says the FCC's broadcast indecency rules are "unconstitutional and obsolete" because they don't also apply to cable and satellite broadcasting.

Fox joins Viacom and NBC, which also have high-profile indecency appeals before the commission. Observers say any of the three have the potential to become a test case for the broadcast indecency rules at the Supreme Court.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times about the FCC's indecency rules earlier this week, Chairman Powell reminded readers that the rules apply to broadcast radio and TV, but not to cable, newspapers or the Internet.

The Supreme Court affords those latter three stronger constitutional protection, he states. Broadcasting is treated differently and has more stringent indecency rules "because it is uniquely pervasive, with children having easy access."

"I believe any effort that any effort to extend regulation of content to other media would be contrary to the Constitution," Powell writes.

In a related story, MediaWeek reported this week that its research indicated that 99.8 percent of all broadcast indecency complaints reported to the FCC in 2003 were filed by one group, the Parents Television Council.

(from Radio World)