The U.S Supreme Court on Tuesday will weigh the govt’s power to regulate profanity and nudity on broadcast television in a challenge to a long-standing policy that dates back to 1978.
The networks’ challenge involved more recent events. One was a 2002 awards show during which singer Cher blurted out an expletive. Another was a 2003 show when actress Nicole Ritchie used two expletives. A third was a seven-second shot of a woman’s nude buttocks on a 2003 “NYPD Blue” episode on Walt Disney Co’s ABC that led to a $1.21 million in fines.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the FCC’s indecency policy should be struck down as unconstitutionally Vague and for Violating free-speech rights under the Constitution’s First Amendment.
Central to the case is the FCC’s right to regulate broadcast speech differently and more restrictly than other media in an effort to protect children from indecent contents, even brief nudity or a single expletive blurted out on a live show.
The Obama administration has defended the FCC’s policy as constitutional, arguing regulation of broadcast indecency does not violate the First Amendment is needed and should be upheld.