Fox, CBS File Indecency Challenges, ABC Passes
November 22, 2006 at 12:37 PM (PT)
FOX and CBS filed their briefs challenging the FCC's indecency rulings in court WEDNESDAY following ABC's decision not to participate.
ABC informed the SECOND CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS in a letter filed TUESDAY that it would not file a brief or offer an oral argument in the indecency appeal pending at the court. The network said that due to the remand of the case against it (over "NYPD BLUE") and vacation of the Commission's previous rulings, it will not continue with its court case pending final resolution.
FOX's filing with the court called the indecency rule "unconstitutionally vague" and the crackdown on fleeting uses of the "F-word" and "S-word" arbitrary, and ripped the FCC's action as a "radical reinterpretation and expansion of its authority to punish severely what it deems to be 'indecent' speech." It also criticized the Commission's insistence that the networks' own self-restraint supports its definition of "contemporary community standards," arguing that the network's own internal standards that "establish a buffer between what they will broadcast and what is illegally indecent does not mean the FCC can occupy that buffer zone and proclaim it to be the limits of contemporary community standards."
CBS's filing also criticized the FCC's "national community standard" establishment without use of outside evidence to support it, and noted that the Commission's use of "contextual analysis" leaves the FCC with "unbridled discretion to punish protected expression."
In a statement issued WEDNESDAY, FCC spokesman DAVID FISKE said, "By continuing to argue that it is OK to say the F-word and the S-word on television whenever it wants, HOLLYWOOD is demonstrating once again how out of touch it is with the American people. We believe there should be some limits on what can be shown on television when children are likely to be watching."