Nets Challenge FCC Indecency Ruling

WASHINGTON ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, their station affiliates and Hearst-Argyle Television have filed suit in a number of federal courts, including New York and Washington, D.C., to challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s ruling on March 15 that found the language on several programs to be indecent.

The FCC levied nearly $4 million in fines for TV broadcasts, including a record $3.6 million for a single show on CBS.

A scene from CBS’ Without a Trace and the now-infamous Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl half-time show were among the shows fined. In total, the FCC passed judgment on 49 programs.

The broadcasters, representing more than 800 affiliated TV stations, are seeking to overturn the FCC decisions, charging the rules are vague, subjective and unconstitutional.

“We strongly believe that the FCC rulings that we are appealing today are unconstitutional and inconsistent with two decades of previous FCC decisions,” said the broadcasters in a statement. “The FCC rulings underscore the inherent problem in growing government control over what viewers should and shouldn’t see on television. Parents currently have the ability to control and block programming they deem inappropriate for family viewing from entering their homes through the use of the V-chip and cable and satellite blocking technologies.”