LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – The United States Supreme Court has announced it will be re-examining the indecency regulations placed on broadcast stations by the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC issues licenses to broadcast stations which allow them to utilize the public airwaves for free.
However, in exchange for those licenses, broadcasters are not permitted to air any content classified as "obscene."
Content the FCC calls "indecent," which is defined as content that describes or depicts sexual or excretory organs or acts and is considered "patently offensive" by community standards, is only permitted on the air between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am.
The rationale for that is that children are more likely to be watching between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm.
But ABC and FOX are now arguing the FCC's indecency regulations are unconstitutional – because they rely very heavily on a program's context rather than simply on its content.
"A bare butt during prime time TV, that might be considered patently offensive," says attorney Cheryl Gill, of Johns, Flaherty and Collins S.C. in La Crosse.
"Because we know children might be watching during that time period."
"But during that same time, if you had a show on about great works of art, and were showing sculptures with bare body parts on them, that's unlikely to be considered indecent," Gill added.
A decision from the Supreme Court on the issue is expected in June.
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