CBS Launches Jackson Court Challenge - Broadcasting & Cable

CBS Launches Jackson Court Challenge

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CBS Friday launched its arguments in the Federal Court challenge to the Janet Jackson FCC Super Bowl fine, telling the Third Circuit Appeals Court in Philadelphia that the FCC should return to a more restrained indecency policy.

Rather than calling for open season on indecency and cussing, CBS said in a statement that in this challenge, as well as one it is filing Wednesday in the case of four profanity decisions, the network is instead "seeking a return to the FCC's previous time-honored practice of more measured indecency enforcement."

CBS says its restraint toward fleeting and isolated incidents was "abandoned" after the commission "failed to turn up even a shred of evidence" that CBS participated or knew about the "Jackson/Timberlake stunt" during the Super Bowl.

Not only does the Jackson finding and fine--$550,000--violate the First Amendment, says CBS, but it is arbitrary, capricious and violates due process. CBS argues that the FCC has dismissed complaints with virtually identical circumstances.

CBS says the commission's restraint toward fleeting and isolated incidents was "abandoned" after the it "failed to turn up even a shred of evidence" that CBS participated or knew about the "Jackson/Timberlake stunt" during the Super Bowl.

"CBS believes there should be no limits on what can be shown on television even during family viewing events like the Super Bowl; we continue to believe they are wrong."

But the CBS filing doesn't push for getting the FCC out of the enforcement business, but rather for a policy of restraint that characterized the commission for 30 years, says CBS.

The FCC responded to the Filing with a statement similar to earlier ones from the commission on CBS' challenge: "CBS continues to ignore the voices of millions of Americans, Congress and the Commission by arguing that Janet Jackson's halftime performance was not indecent.

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