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Decent Loss?

published June 12, 2007

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According to the FCC's website, "Profane language includes those words that are so highly offensive that their mere utterance in the context presented may, in legal terms, amount to a 'nuisance.' In its Golden Globes Awards Order, the FCC warned broadcasters that, depending on the context, it would consider the 'F-Word' and those words (or variants thereof) that are as highly offensive as the 'F-Word' to be 'profane language' that cannot be broadcast between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m."

However, at the Billboard Music Awards show in 2002 and 2003, Cher uttered the phrase "F— 'em," while Nicole Richie said, "Have you ever tried to get cow s— out of a Prada purse? It's not so f-— simple." Both shows aired on the Fox Network.


The FCC is concerned that if expletives like these are allowed anywhere at anytime, family-friendly programming will be hard to come by.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in an article on http://money.cnn.com that he "found it hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that the obscenities aired would be acceptable on broadcast television when children are most likely to be in the audience."

"If we can't prohibit the use [of the two obscenities] during prime time," Martin continued, "Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want."

Fox Broadcasting however, "praised the ruling, saying 'government regulation of content serves no purpose other than to chill artistic expression in violation of the First Amendment.' It said viewers can decide appropriate viewing content for themselves, using parental control technologies," says on article on www.abcnews.go.com.

In the same article, the FCC, regardless of losing this decency battle, claims they will not change their "legal obligation to enforce the indecency statue."

"So any broadcaster who sees this decision as a green light to send more gratuitous sex and violence into our homes would be making a huge mistake," said Michael J. Copps, a FCC Commissioner. "The FCC has a duty to find a way to breathe life into the laws that protect our kids."

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