NBC Challenges Bono Decision


Even though the network faces no government fine or other punishment, NBC is fighting to overturn an FCC ruling last month that declared the network's 2003 Golden Globes broadcast indecent because award winner Bono blurted out that his rock band's victory was "f***ing brilliant."

NBC Monday said the broad impact of the ruling—essentially declaring that airing the F-word or, potentially, any other profane word can be punished with fines or worse--"raises serious constitutional, policy, and regulatory concerns."

In a petition for reconsideration filed with the FCC, NBC said the agency encroached on well-established First Amendment rights by declaring that the F-word is indecent, regardless of the context and by dusting off using its never-before-tried legal authority to sanction profanity.

In a meeting of the minds with other media companies seeking to overturn the FCC decision, NBC said the FCC should review whether it should be in enforcing any anti-indecency rules nowadays given that broadcast viewers have the option of using the V-Chip to block channels they don’t want coming into their homes and that stations must now compete with raunchier, much less regulated pay-TV programming.

Viacom, Fox, other media companies and some artists filed a separate reconsideration request Monday. Their attorneys threatened to take the FCC to court if it doesn't back down.

NBC dissented in part, agreeing with the FCC’s decision not to fine the company.