Court throws out FCC penalties for cursing, nudity

FILE - In this Sunday Feb. 1, 2004 file photo, entertainer Janet Jackson, left, covers her breast after her outfit came undone during the half time performance with Justin Timberlake at Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. The Supreme Court unanimously threw out fines and sanctions Thursday against broadcasters who violated the Federal Communications Commission policy regulating curse words and nudity on broadcast television. But the justices declined to issue a broad ruling on the constitutionality of the FCC indecency policy. Instead, the court concluded only that broadcasters could not have known in advance that obscenities uttered during awards show programs and a brief display of nudity on an episode of ABC's NYPD Blue could give rise to sanctions. ABC and 45 affiliates were hit with proposed fines totaling nearly $1.24 million. The stepped-up indecency enforcement, including issuing record fines for violations, also was spurred in part by widespread public outrage following Janet Jackson's breast-baring performance during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show on CBS. (AP Photo/David Phillip, File)
June 21, 2012 3:30:53 PM PDT
Broadcasters anticipating a major constitutional ruling on the government's authority to regulate what can be shown and said on the airwaves instead won only the smallest of Supreme Court victories Thursday.

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