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FCC Fines Levied Over Pixilated Body Parts

Insisting that its indecency standards are not vague, the Federal Communications Commission has issued a forfeiture order against 13 Fox stations for their 2003 airing of "Married by America" that showed pixilated body parts of bachelor-party attendees. The FCC is hitting the stations for $7,000 apiece, a total of $91,000 -- and the News Corp.-owned net is not happy.

The initial fine was almost $1.2 million against 169 stations, but regulators decided to only go after stations in markets where people actually complained. The FCC says the parties were engaged in sexual activities and depicted sexual organs, even if blurred: "While it is true that the nude female breasts and buttocks shown were pixilated," it says, "the commission never held that the full exposure of sexual or excretory organs is required to satisfy the first prong of the broadcast-indecency standard."

Jim Dyke, executive director of TV Watch - a group formed by the industry 2005 - says that "Americans continue to believe that parents -- and not the government -- should control television programming in the home." But "our government continues to usurp the role of parents by responding to activists' 'Astroturf' campaigns intended to inflate complaints using duplicate submissions and recruiting people who don't even bother to view the programs they complain about."



Read the whole story at Broadcasting & Cable »

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