June 5, 2007
Broadcasting the F-Word
A court rejects fines for indecent speech.
A federal appeals panel struck down Federal Communication Commission rules that regulate indecent speech broadcast on American airwaves. "If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts," reports The New York Times. "Although the case was primarily concerned with what is known as "fleeting expletives," or blurted obscenities, on television, both network executives and top officials at the Federal Communications Commission said the opinion could gut the ability of the commission to regulate any speech on television or radio."
Naturally, the broadcasters are thrilled. "We are very pleased with the court's decision and continue to believe that the government regulation of content serves no purpose other than to chill artistic expression in violation of the First Amendment," said Scott Grogin, a senior vice president at Fox.