All FCC indecency policing is bogus, networks claim

In a brief filed today with the Supreme Court, ABC, CBS and NBC claimed that the legal underpinnings of the landmark Pacifica decision and other content regulation precedents are no longer valid, Broadcasting & Cable reports. The filing is in support of Fox in an indecency case that the Court will hear later this year — the FCC asked the justices to reconsider a lower court’s finding that the commission was wrong to fine Fox for airing curse words uttered during a live awards show broadcast. The FCC wants the justices to consider only narrow legal questions specific to the case, but the networks in their filing urged the Court to broadly examine the legality of broadcast indecency enforcement as a whole. “The antiquated notion of spectrum scarcity can no longer serve as a basis for according only ‘relaxed scrutiny’ to content restrictions in the broadcast media,” they argued, according to B&C. “Nor can the outmoded premises of Pacifica — that over-the-air broadcasting is ‘uniquely pervasive’ or ‘uniquely accessible to children.’” (See timeline of notable indecency regulation developments here.)

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