Hollywood Says Profanity Smackdown Affects Violence Push


Hollywood expressed its happiness with the federal court's reversal of FCC profanity policy Monday with Jonathan Rintels, executive director of the Center for Creative Voices in Media, using it as an opportunity to warn the FCC about extending its reach to violent programming.

"These overly broad and arbitrary Commission decisions put creative, challenging, controversial, non-homogenized broadcast television programming at risk," said Rintels. The coalition had supported broadcasters challenge to the profanity findings against Fox, filing by way of supporting material a report, Big Chill: How the FCC's Indecency Decisions Stifle Free Expression.

Turning to the violence issue, Rintels said "Last April, the FCC told Congress that it could give the Commission new powers to regulate so-called 'violent' broadcast television content, however that might ultimately be defined. In light of today’s clear Court of Appeals ruling that the FCC has abused its discretion to regulate television content, and acted “arbitrarily and capriciously,” it would be extremely unwise – even irresponsible -- for Congress to now grant these exponentially expanded new powers to the Commission."

Also weighing in happily were various unions that had filed briefs in support of broadcasters:

“Actors, directors, writers and broadcast personnel are pleased that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals today rejected the FCC’s effort to expand their authority and influence over creative content," said The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, and Writers Guilds of America, East and West.in a joint statement.

 "The fines imposed have had a chilling effect on free expression over the airwaves. If allowed to stand, these fines would have subjected all programming to arbitrary claims of indecency without regard to context or type of programming. We are united in our opposition to this, or any other, FCC decision to overturn long-standing policy in this area, and replace it with arbitrary decisionmaking standards that tread on free speech.”