The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday accepted a bid by the Federal Communications Commission to overturn a Fox Television indecency case the agency lost in lower courts against News Corp.
The high court agreed to enter a dispute between broadcasters and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over whether TV and radio stations can be punished for the occasional, accidental use of offensive language in broadcasts.
The agency, under the Bush administration, could not punish television stations for broadcasting fleeting expletives, or blurted obscenities.
The FCC appealed to the high court in an effort to overturn a June 4 ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, which said the agency had failed to justify its standard for fleeting indecency.
Kevin J. Martin, the chairman of the commission, said he was pleased that the high court would review the issue. Last June, he said he was disappointed for American families because of the Second Circuit ruling.
The commission, Congress, and most importantly, parents understand that protecting our children in our greatest responsibility, Mr. Martin said.
I continue to believe we have an obligation, then, to enforce laws restricting indecent language on television and radio when children are in the audience.
The four major networks would have been victorious if the Supreme Court had decided not to take the case, a spokesman for Fox said the network was still pleased that the justices would hear it.
Scott Grogin, a company spokesman, said the high court's decision to take the case will give us the opportunity to argue that the F.C.C.'s expanded enforcement of the indecency law is unconstitutional in today's diverse media marketplace where parents have access to a variety of tools to monitor their children's television viewing, The Associated Press reported.