FCC Appeals Court Indecency Ruling

The Federal Communications Commission Thursday (Aug. 27) appealed last month’s Fox v. FCC ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that struck down the FCC’s guidelines about indecent speech on the air, guidelines challenged by the TV networks.

In its appeal, the FCC asked for the Court to reconsider its arguments. ”The three-judge panel’s decision in July raised serious concerns about the commission’s ability to protect children and families from indecent broadcast programming,” said Austin Schlick, general counsel for the FCC.

News Corp. (Fox), along with ABC, CBS and NBC Universal joined together to challenge the FCC’s “fleeting expletives,” rule, that the FCC put in place after celebrities such as Bono and Cher uttered expletives in live broadcasts. In Fox v. FCC, the Court said the FCC’s rule was “unconstitutionally vague.”

The FCC asked for a new hearing or alternatively a full hearing by the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York. The regulatory body got immediate support from the Parents Television Council.

“The airwaves have become a battleground for networks to out-cuss, out-sex and out-gore each other; and sadly it is children and families who are in the crossfire. Our justice system must move quickly to correct the Second Circuit ruling and reaffirm the FCC’s statutory authority,” said PTC president Tim Winter.

With the issue stuck in legal limbo, the issue is likely headed to the Supreme Court.