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SCOTT JAGOW: If we say words like [BLEEP] on the air, the FCC can fine us. This week the House votes on a bill that would increase those fines tenfold. And broadcasters are ready to do battle on this. Here’s Jeff Tyler.
JEFF TYLER: Instead of butting heads with Congress, the TV networks have taken their fight to court. They argue the Federal Communications Commission has no Constitutional authority to levy indecency fines. The Supreme Court made the FCC guardians of virtue in 1978. Overturning that decision will be expensive.
BILL TRIPLETT: That’s been one of the arguments about not going to court before, is that it was essentially cheaper to deal with the fines. Not anymore.
That’s Variety reporter Bill Triplett. If the court case is unsuccessful, he says most of the proposed $325,000 fines won’t target massive media companies.
TRIPLETT: Ultimately it will be the individual broadcast stations, because they’re the ones that actually draw the fines.
A court decision is expected at the earliest by the end of the year.
I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.
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