Supreme Court Hears
Arguments in FCC vs. FOX Television - Considers Policy on Cursing,
Nudity on TV
January 21, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court has debated whether government regulators can
police the airwaves for indecent program content.
Justices on Tuesday engaged in lively debate with lawyers from the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the country's television
Some justices questioned the value in having different segments of the
media governed by different standards, while others discussed whether
broadcast television could be held to a different standard since it
receives a government license to use public airwaves.
case questions the FCC's policy of fining broadcasters for isolated
incidents of foul language and nudity between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10
Broadcasters are seeking to overturn a 1978 ruling that upheld the FCC
policy. A federal appeals court later declared it “unconstitutionally
Networks argue that the current FCC policy is difficult to navigate and
unfairly applied, especially when broadcasters are fined for “fleeting”
expletives made by celebrities during live televised award shows and not
when airing certain movies or documentaries.
The court is expected to rule on the case within the coming months.