Supreme Court Will Review FCC Policy On Broadcast Profanity

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — The Supreme Court has stepped into a legal fight between the television networks and the Federal Communications Commission over the use of curse words on the airwaves.

The case is the first major look at broadcast indecency by the court in 30 years. It concerns an FCC policy that allows for fines against broadcasters for so-called “fleeting expletives,” one-time uses of the F-word or its close cousins on TV or radio.

Fox Broadcasting Co., along with ABC, CBS and NBC, challenged the new policy after the commission said broadcasts of entertainment awards shows in 2002 and 2003 were indecent because of profanity uttered by Bono, Cher and Nicole Richie.

A federal appeals court said the new policy was invalid and could violate the First Amendment.