The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to rule on Fox's challenge to the FCC's decision
on "fleeting obscenities," which held that any utterance of a four-letter word during
a live telecast during the hours before 10:00 p.m. is subject to punitive fines.
Both Fox -- and network television executives in general -- and FCC Chairman Kevin
Martin welcomed the high court's decision to intervene in the matter. Martin maintained
that he believes that the government is obliged "to enforce laws restricting indecent
language on television and radio when children are in the audience." Fox observed that
in "today's diverse media marketplace" parents have "a variety of tools" to protect
their children if they so wish. Speaking for the industry, Dennis Wharton, executive
vice president of the National Assn. of Broadcasters, said that it was pleased "that
justices will provide badly needed clarity to both broadcasters and policymakers
on this critically important First Amendment case."