Broadcasters Dissent, Sue FCC Over What's Decent
ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and Hearst-Argyle Television filed a lawsuit in federal courts, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, following the FCC's decision last month to levy $3 million in indecency fines against stations airing questionable content. A number of the fines were related to an episode of CBS' "Without a Trace," which included a scene featuring sexual content.
Other fines were related to a 2004 airing of CBS' "The Early Show," Fox's 2002 and 2003 broadcast of "The Billboard Music Awards," and a 2003 episode of ABC's "NYPD Blue."
The broadcasters say the fines are unconstitutional and are inconsistent with earlier, less severe FCC decisions. The suit says: "The FCC rulings underscore the inherent problem of government involvement in deciding what viewers should and shouldn't see on television.
Additionally, the broadcasters say parents have adequate controls to block objectionable programming. Specifically, the suit says: "Parents currently have the ability to control and block programming they deem inappropriate for family viewing from entering their home through the use of the V-chip and cable- and satellite-blocking technologies."