CBS Corp. said on Saturday it would broadcast the documentary 9/11 on the Internet as well as the airwaves after several affiliates said they would delay or forgo the award-winning film because it includes profanity.
The documentary was produced by French filmmakers Gedeon and Jules Naudet and retired New York firefighter James Hanlon and has aired twice without incurring fines by U.S. regulators charged with enforcing broadcast decency standards.
CBS said affiliates that cover about 10 percent of the United States had decided not broadcast the program or would show it late at night, citing concerns they could be fined for airing profanity, primarily by firefighters during the crisis, before 10 p.m.
The American Family Association, which describes itself as a Christian organization promoting traditional values, has called on CBS stations to forgo or delay the 9/11 broadcast.
The online streaming of this broadcast will allow viewers in those markets to see the Peabody Award-winning special, CBS said in a statement. The network will air warnings about graphic language.
The film is scheduled to air on Sunday evening at 8 p.m.
Another major U.S. network, ABC, was making last-minute changes to its two-part September 11-linked miniseries The Path to 9/11 to air on Sunday and Monday. Former President Bill Clinton, former aides and congressional Democrats have lodged complaints that the film inaccurately suggests Clinton was inattentive to the Islamic militant threat that led to the September 11 attacks.
The film to air on CBS, narrated by actor Robert De Niro, was compiled using footage shot inside the north tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan after it was hit by a hijacked airliner. No actual carnage is shown.
An FCC spokeswoman has said the agency only acts on complaints it receives and the historical context would likely be considered if any complaints were lodged.
The FCC last year ruled that profanity during ABC's 2004 broadcast of the World War Two drama Saving Private Ryan did not violate decency rules despite complaints.