WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the fate of a government ban on “fleeting expletives” over the airwaves. The case stems from the Federal Communications Commission’s decision in 2006 to fine broadcasters for allowing brief profanities on live television.
The FCC adopted the policy after deciding that two broadcasts of the “Billboard Music Awards” show – which aired curse words from Bono, Cher and Nicole Ritchie – were indecent. No fines were issued, but the agency now has the ability to fine future violators.
Major broadcasters, including Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS, challenged the new policy, saying it was sprung on them without fair warning or explanation.
The FCC appealed the case to the Supreme Court after the 2nd Circuit voted 2-1 to reject the ban as unconstitutional.
Without comment, the high court took up its first major broadcast indecency case in 30 years.