LIBERTY COUNCIL (www.LC.org)
CBS Corporation will not be forced to pay the $550,000 fine imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling on Monday. The federal appeals court threw out the fine for the so-called “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show, which revealed Janet Jackson’s breast on live television. The court ruled that the FCC “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in issuing the fine.
The FCC argued that CBS should have instituted a video delay mechanism to guard against a potential act of indecency. CBS implemented an audio delay to prevent indecent language; however, it should have also implemented the same preventative measures for video.
The case began in 2004 after a performance with Justin Timberlake on CBS’s live broadcast of the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show. The brief nudity came at the end of the performance as Timberlake sang, “gonna have you naked by the end of this song” and tore away part of Jackson’s bustier. Over 90 million people were watching the Super Bowl, including children.
The court claimed that the FCC had never fined anyone in nearly thirty years of practice for indecent broadcast programming, unless it was so “pervasive as to amount to ‘shock treatment’ for the audience.” We find this ruling shocking.
Steve Crampton, Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: “This case presents yet another example of the courts second-guessing those who seek to protect the most innocent among us. Chairman Martin and the FCC should be commended for finally taking action against big media and their incessant efforts to pollute the airwaves. Unfortunately, it seems to have been too little too late.”
Liberty Counsel asks all concerned citizens to contact Senator Harry Reid and their own senators and urge them to bring S. 1780 to the floor and pass this legislation that will fix the problem of these indecent images.
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