2012-01-10 / World

High court weighs policy against curse words on TV

BY MARK SHERMAN The Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is considering whether government regulators may still police the airwaves for curse words and other coarse content at a time when so many Americans have unregulated cable television, and the Internet is awash in easily accessible adult material.

The justices are hearing arguments Tuesday in a First Amendment case that pits the Obama administration against the nation’s television networks. The material at issue includes the isolated use of expletives as well as fines against broadcasters who showed a woman’s nude buttocks on a 2003 episode of ABC’s “NYPD Blue.”

The broadcasters want the court to overturn a 1978 decision that upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s CHER accepts a lifetime achievement award in December 2002 during the Billboard Music Awards show. During the show Cher used the Fword. The Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a related First Amendment case. authority to regulate both radio and television content, at least during the hours when children are likely to be watching or listening. That period includes the primetime hours before 10 p.m.

At the very least, the networks say the FCC’s current policy is too hard to figure out, penalizing the use of particular curse words on awards programming but not in the airing of the movie “ Saving Private Ryan,” for example.

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