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3 items from 2008


Justice Dept. sues News Corp. over FCC defiance

4 April 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

RELATED: FCC should drop "nostalgic" Fox indecency fine

UPDATED 4:07 p.m. PT April 6, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The federal government has sued News Corp. for violating the nation's indecency laws for an episode of the defunct reality program "Married to America" in which possibly offending body parts were pixilized.

Lawsuits were filed Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice in four jurisdictions seeking to enforce the FCC's $56,000 in fines for airing the program in violation of the rules. The suits come just as the statute of limitations against the broadcaster were set to expire.

In all, the government filed five suits in federal court in the District of Columbia and one each in Iowa, West Virginia and Tennessee. Filing the suits in different districts covers all the legal bases necessary to bring the lawsuits, either where the complaints were filed against the stations that aired the program, their corporate headquarters or where the relevant agency is located.

Although the fines were levied by the commission, the DOJ is required to bring the suites to enforce the fines.

"We have an obligation to protect our children by enforcing laws restricting indecent content on TV and radio," FCC spokeswoman Mary Diamond said. »

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Fox won't pay gov't fine for pixelation

25 March 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

WASHINGTON -- The Fox Network refused to pay the federal government a $91,000 fine for indecent exposure during an episode of the defunct reality program Married to America in which possibly offending body parts were pixelated.

In papers filed at the FCC on Monday, the company told the commission it wasn't going to pay the fine and asked it to review its decision to issue the fine.

"Fox believes that the FCC's decision in this case was arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with precedent and patently unconstitutional," the network said in a statement.

The commission is unlikely to change its mind in the case. Fox's decision to refuse the fine and ask for reconsideration moves the case closer to a court date.

In February the commission fined 13 Fox stations and affiliates $7,000 each saying that simply pixelating female breasts and buttocks during a raunchy bachelor party scene in the April 2003 show do not indemnify broadcasters from commission action. »

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FCC: 'Marriage' still indecent

25 February 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

WASHINGTON -- The FCC has rejected Fox's arguments that an episode of the defunct reality program Married to America did not violate the nation's indecency laws because offending body parts were pixilized.

The commission fined 13 Fox stations and affiliates $7,000 each.

In its order Friday, the FCC said simply pixilizing female breasts and buttocks during a raunchy bachelor party scene in the April 2003 show do not indemnify broadcasters from commission action.

"To be sure, the pixilation of the female strippers' naked breasts and buttocks does render the material less explicit and graphic than it would have been in the absence of pixilation," the commission said in its forfeiture order. "However, the material is still sufficiently graphic and explicit to support an indecency finding."

In its arguments, Fox noted that in addition to the pixilation, the show can be V-chipped, the incidents were fleeting and the statute and the commission's enforcement of it makes no constitutional sense.

"Fox strongly disagrees with the commission's conclusions in the notice, and we will be actively considering our options," the network said. »

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3 items from 2008


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