C-SPAN to Telecast Indecency Arguments

Dec 12, 2006  •  Post A Comment

C-SPAN won permission today from the second appellate court to broadcast the oral arguments at Fox Television Station’s appeal of the Federal Communications Commission decision that Cher and Nicole Richie’s comments on an awards show violated broadcast indecency standards.

A C-SPAN spokesman said today that the arguments set for Dec. 20 in New York will be taped but whether they will be telecast that day or sometime later has yet to be determined.

Fox wasn’t fined by the FCC, but is challenging the agency’s determination that Cher and Ms. Richie’s language on the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards, respectively, amounted to profanity that violated indecency standards. Cher in 2002 used the f-word is accepting an Artist Achievement Award. Ms. Richie in 2003 talked about getting cow manure out of a Prada purse, saying it wasn’t simple, but used the s-word in describing manure and the f-word before simple.

Fox and other networks have jumped on the FCC action to challenge the agency’s indecency standards. They have contended that the FCC sharply changed its standards for profanity and that the standards make little sense in the face of industry changes and are vague. The FCC has said it explained its toughening of standards and that the networks are trying to get the court to consider issues not before it.