FCC indecency battle hindered by delays, small fines

[JURIST] Kevin Martin [official profile], the new chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission [official website], is preparing to release a number of backlogged indecency fines in the coming weeks after months of inaction as agency officials work to speed up the investigation and penalty process. The Commission has been trying to balance First Amendment rights with laws that forbid radio or television programs from broadcasting "patently offensive" material [FCC materials] of a sexual or excretory nature at all times except during the late night and early morning hours. The problem is compounded by the increasing irrelevance of the US Supreme Court's guiding 1978 indecency case [text] which is inapplicable to nearly 200 cable and satellite channels that do not fall under the law. Thursday's Washington Post has more.

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