FCC Says Nets Have “Limited” Speech Rights

Broadcasting & Cable
The Federal Communications Commission claims that broadcasters have “only limited First Amendment protection” and that it gave the industry notice it would change its policy on swear words as it tries to defend its profanity findings against cursing in Fox’s Billboard Music Awards –and the underpinnings of its entire “indecency” enforcement approach.

The defense comes in its filing to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals of a brief that responds to a broadcaster challenge of four profanity rulings issued last March. The FCC insists that the Pacifica case–more commonly known as the “seven dirty words”–that once upheld its indecency enforcement powers was “good law.”

The FCC also disputes Fox’s contention that its definition of indecency is unconstitutionally vague. The commission argues that since the broadcast spectrum is a limited resource, the justification for speech regulation need only be substantial and the means narrowly tailored, rather than the “least restrictive means” test applied to other forms of speech regulation. – Read the whole story…


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