The U.S. Federal Communications Commission's indecency policy is unconstitutionally vague and could create a chilling effect beyond "fleeting expletives" heard on broadcasts, an appeals court ruled on Tuesday.
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York arose from a case over Bono , frontman of the rock group U2, who used an expletive when he received an award during the live broadcast of the 2003 Golden Globe Awards.
News Corp's Fox Television, CBS Corp's CBS Broadcasting and others sued the FCC, which regulates radio, television, wire, satellite and cable communications.
Fox sued after being fined for Bono's expletive, and the court agreed:
"We now hold that the FCC's policy violates the First Amendment because it is unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here," the panel of appeals court judges said in a written ruling on Tuesday.
The ruling is a victory for the First Amendment, but I wish that Fox News weren't the victor.