WDBJ-TV/Roanoke Appeals FCC Maximum Indecency Fine
July 2, 2015 at 3:58 AM (PT)
SCHURZ COMMUNICATIONS CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV/ROANOKE, VA is appealing the FCC's maximum $325,000 fine for indecency. TVNEWSCHECK reports that WDBJ Pres./GM JEFFREY MARKS said, “While WDBJ regrets that an offensive image was inadvertently broadcast, we believe that the First Amendment does not allow the FCC to ‘throw the book’ at a station for unintentionally including a fleeting inappropriate image in a newscast about a legitimate story. WDBJ has taken steps to ensure that this kind of incident cannot be repeated. We have asked the FCC to withdraw its proposed forfeiture.”
WDBJ accidentally aired a clip from a porn film website during its 6p (ET) newscast on JULY 12th, 2012, illustrating a story about an adult film star who had joined a local fire department and rescue squad with, "specifically, a video image of a hand stroking an erect penis" that appeared on the box for a video shown on the website.
The clip ran for 2.7 seconds and the offending image occupied 1.7% of the screen area, and WDBJ argued that the images on the website were not visible when the video was in the editing bay. WDBJ also argues that the fine "violates the Communications Act insofar as it proposes to penalize WDBJ for an alleged indecency violation that was neither ‘willful’ nor ‘repeated,’ as required.”