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HIGH COURT TO CONSIDER FCC OBSCENITY RULES

June 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

NYPD Blue Scene that Drew FCC Censure

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a federal appellate court’s decision that appeared to nullify FCC’s rules on indecent broadcasts. It indicated that its consideration will be limited to whether the commission’s “indecency-enforcement regime violates the First or Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” Last year a lower court appeared to toss out the FCC rules on indecency, saying that they were “unconstitutionally vague” and could encourage self-censorship by broadcasters. The FCC welcomed the decision, saying in a statement, “We are hopeful that the court will affirm the commission’s exercise of its statutory responsibility to protect children and families from indecent broadcast programming.” (The FCC does not regulate the content of cable programming.) It was also welcomed by Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, which has spearheaded the protest against allegedly indecent content on broadcast television. “The High Court will have the opportunity to reverse misguided Second Circuit Court of Appeals rulings that would open the floodgates for graphic nudity and some of the harshest profanity in the English language,” he said. But Scott Grogin, a Fox-TV spokesman, told Bloomberg News, “We are hopeful that the court will ultimately agree that the FCC’s indecency enforcement practices trample on the First Amendment rights of broadcasters.” In a rather neutral statement, the National Association of Broadcasters said that it “supports a constitutional review of the FCC’s enforcement of program content rules.”