Former FCCers Tell Court To End FCC Indecency 'Crusade'
August 11, 2008 at 5:29 AM (PT)
An amicus brief filed with the SUPREME COURT in the FOX indecency case by an array of former FCC luminaries argues that the Commission is on a "Victorian crusade" against alleged indecency and should not have the power to regulate indecency at all.
The brief from former Chairmen NEWTON MINOW and MARK FOWLER, former Commissioners JIM QUELLO and GLEN ROBINSON, former General Counsel HENRY GELLER, former legal counsel KENNETH ROBINSON, and ALLBRITTON COMMUNICATIONS SVP/General Counsel JERALD FRITZ, charged that the landmark PACIFICA "seven words" case had led to the FCC "radically expand(ing) the definition of indecency beyond its original conception; magnified the penalties for even minor, ephemeral images or objectionable language; and targeted respected television programs, movies and even noncommercial documentaries." I
n the brief, the former FCC leaders also noted that changes in the electronic media landscape had eliminated the "uniquely pervasive or accessible to children" underpinning to previous rulings allowing the FCC to regulate content, and suggested that the court should not merely eliminate the FCC's "fleeting expletives" ban, but should eliminate the Commission's ability to regulate content at all.