Court Voids FCC’s Long Standing Swear Rule

Filed in Gather Politics News Channel by on July 13, 2010 0 Comments

Swearing on live television has been a no-no for a very long time. Live broadcasts were constantly fined if a curse word was uttered and aired to millions of viewers. But a court today ruled that an occasional swear on live television wasn’t the end of the world. The Federal Appeals court called the swearing law, “unconstitutionally vague,” and violated the first right amendment of broadcasters like Fox, NBC, and ABC.

The Wallstreet Journal reports that a three judge panel of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, said that FCC’s indecency policies were “unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here.”

The FCC can appeal the ruling, and it could possibly see its way to the Supreme Court. The FCC was just in the Supreme Court after Fox, and other networks said that the indecency rulings were unconstitutional. In 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that the FCC was properly following its protocol, and recommended the case to the Second Circuit Court.

“There is little rhyme or reason to these decisions and broadcasters are left to guess whether an expletive will be deemed ‘integral’ to a program,” the court wrote.

But this doesn’t mean that curse words are going to run rampant on live television. Broadcast networks will still monitor and try to prevent cursing, but slip ups are now going to have more leniency.

I think that this is a good thing. You can’t control live TV, and companies shouldn’t be fined for people who make mistakes. A lot has changed in the world of media since the FCC began, and its rules seem to be a little outdated.

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