Today, a New York federal appeals court ruled the U.S. Federal Communications indecency rules are unconstitutional. The Court ruled the policy is "unconstitutionally vague" and violates First Amendment rights guaranteeing freedom of speech to all Americans.
In the case of Fox Television Stations Inc. v. FCC, 06-1760, Second Circuit Court of Appeals...the court struck down the FCC policy regarding "fleeting expletives" ..in FCC language..the "pervasiness of foul language" and the “coarsening to public entertainment” justified their policy. The court said it didn't.
The three judge panel wrote...“We now hold that the FCC’s policy violates the First Amendment because it is unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here.”
The specific case involved U2's Bono using the F word when he received an award on the Golden Globes.
Fox issued this statement..."While we will continue to strive to eliminate expletives from live broadcasts, the inherent challenges broadcasters face with live television, coupled with the human element required for monitoring, must allow for the unfortunate isolated instances where inappropriate language slips through."
The NAB is happy. Dennis Wharton released this statement...
NAB STATEMENT ON TODAY'S INDECENCY RULING
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a ruling today asserting that the Federal Communications Commissions' policy regulating indecency "violates the First Amendment because it is unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect."
Commenting on the court ruling, NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton issued the following statement:
"NAB supports today’s appellate court decision. As broadcasters, we will continue to offer programming that is reflective of the diverse communities we serve. We believe that responsible decision making by network and local station executives, coupled with program blocking technologies like the V-chip, is far preferable to government regulation of program content."
Today's ruling comes in the case of Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. FCC.