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Court Overturns FCC on ‘Fleeting’ Cuss Words

Federal appeals panel finds policy too vague

“Unconstitutionally vague” is the finding of a federal appeals court concerning the Federal Communications Commissions’ “fleeting expletive” indecency policies; and so the three-judge panel of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has struck them down, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Major broadcasters including Fox and NBC Universal had objected to the FCC’s indecency enforcement actions regarding several live programs where celebrities uttered expletives that were not caught and bleeped out.

The court found that the indecency policies were “unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here,” the Journal reported.

NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton issued a 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.”

For more on this story:
Appeals Court Thows Out FCC’s Indecency Policy