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FCC Reverses Bono Decision

FCC Reverses Bono Decision

The FCC has issued 4 high-profile indecency decisions.
It reversed an earlier decision and now says the F-word used by Bono of U2 during the 2003 Golden Globe Awards was indecent and profane.
The commission emphasized that, “All broadcast licensees are on clear notice that similar broadcasts in the future will lead to forfeitures and potential license revocation, if appropriate.”
Originally the commission had said since Bono’s use of the word was fleeting and used in a non-sexual context it did not violate the indecency standard. However, the Parents Television Council complained.
The commissioners have now overruled the earlier decision by the Enforcement Bureau and stated that this and “other cases holding that isolated or fleeting use of the ‘F-word’ are not indecent are no longer good law.”
No fine was issued to NBC, which aired the program because most of the commissioners agreed a retroactive penalty wouldn’t be fair. Commissioners Michael Copps and Kevin Martin argued against this point, saying not issuing a fine sends the wrong message.
FCC Chairman Michael Powel said the commission, as instructed by the Supreme Court, must use its enforcement tools “wisely.”
“As I have said since becoming a commissioner, government action in this area can have a potential chilling effect on free speech. We guard against this by ruling when a
clear line has been crossed and the government has no choice but to act.”