Supreme Court to Review FCC's F-Bomb Policy

It could be the final say on whether TV networks can curse and show bare butts

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The Supreme Court agreed today to review the Federal Communications Commission's indecency rules governing what broadcasters can depict during hours when children may be watching TV. The court will begin hearing oral arguments in the fall in a case that AdWeek hopes will clear up "once and for all whether things like a fleeting F-bomb or a bare butt are indecent." Specifically, the high court will be reviewing First Amendment issues in two cases: "A February 2003 broadcast of ABC's NYPD Blue, which showed a full view of a woman's butt, and the FCC's 'fleeting expletive' rule, established after live Fox and NBC broadcasts in 2002 and 2003 in which celebrities used the F-word," reports the Associated Press. A big voice on these issues has been the major networks who say the FCC's regulatory powers are outdated because they apply only to broadcast TV and not cable TV or web content. Others have pointed out inconsistencies in how the FCC determines what's inappropriate. For instance, the commission gave ABC a pass on airing the expletive-loaded World War II film Saving Private Ryan. Justice Sonia Sotomayor is recusing herself from the case because "she served on the appeals court during its consideration of some of the issues involved," notes the AP.

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