A federal appeals court has tossed out a government policy that can lead to broadcasters being fined for allowing even a single curse word on live television, concluding that the rule was unconstitutionally vague and had a chilling effect on broadcasters.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan struck down the 2004 Federal Communications Commission policy, which said that profanity referring to sex or excrement is always indecent…
“To place any discussion of these vast topics at the broadcaster’s peril has the effect of promoting wide self-censorship of valuable material which should be completely protected under the First Amendment,” it added…
“The score for today’s game is First Amendment one, censorship zero,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, policy director of Media Access Project, which joined the case on behalf of musicians, producers, writers and directors.
Carter Phillips, a Washington lawyer who argued the case for Fox Television Stations, called the decision satisfying. He said the court had “sent the FCC back to square one to start over” by not only tossing the FCC’s fleeting expletive policy but also a broader indecency policy as unconstitutionally vague.
The FCC fleeting expletive policy was put in place after a January 2003 NBC broadcast of the Golden Globes awards show, in which U2 lead singer Bono uttered the phrase “f—— brilliant.” The FCC said the F-word in any context “inherently has a sexual connotation” and can lead to enforcement.
The Right-Wing high priests of the Supreme Court previously upheld the ruling – and policy.
19th Century minds still work very hard at preserving the family values of the 14th Century.