Thumbs up on SCOTUS decency ruling (News)

Posted on June 22, 2012, in Indecency, News, Pornography Laws

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Bill Bumpas and Jody Brown – OneNewsNow – 6/21/2012

Although the Supreme Court today threw out fines and sanctions that the FCC levied against broadcast television networks for allowing curse words and nudity on the air, pro-family groups are interpreting the ruling as the high court siding with families.

The court did not take away the FCC’s authority to impose fines on broadcasters who violate federal decency laws, according to Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council. She tells OneNewsNow essentially the justices told the FCC it just jumped the gun.

“So they didn’t say that the policies were wrong,” she explains. “They just said [to the FCC] You didn’t live up to your due process requirements by telling them what the new requirements are.”

The Associated Press reports the justices declined to issue a broad ruling on the constitutionality of the FCC indecency policy. Instead, the court concluded only that broadcasters could not have known in advance that obscenities uttered during awards show programs and a brief display of nudity on an episode of ABC’s NYPD Blue could give rise to sanctions. ABC and 45 affiliates were hit with proposed fines totaling nearly $1.24 million. The justices said the FCC is free to revise its indecency policy.

Pat Trueman, president of Morality in Media, says that while the ruling is not what his group was hoping for, the most important aspect of the decision is that the FCC remains free to enforce federal indecency law.

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