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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Fox TV chief slams decency rules
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake at the 2004 Superbowl
Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" has gone down in TV history
Hefty fines for showing indecent images on US TV are having a "chilling effect on creativity," a TV chief has said.

Fox TV entertainment president Peter Liguori said new rules on decency were "vague" and "difficult to manage".

Last month, US President George Bush signed a law increasing the maximum fine for airing unsuitable material tenfold to $325,000 (175,000).

"None of our business plans are designed to take on such huge fines," said Mr Liguori.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently ruled that Fox broke decency standards during the Billboard Music Awards in 2002 and 2003.

'Offensive words'

On the first occasion, singer Cher used an expletive which the FCC described as "vulgar".

The following year, actress Nicole Ritchie used two swear words which it said were "among the most offensive words in the English language".

Anthony LaPaglia
Drama series Without A Trace, starring Anthony LaPaglia, received a record fine
The network did not receive a fine, as the FCC felt these were "isolated" occurrences.

But Fox is appealing against the decision in the New York Federal Appeals Court, along with rival broadcasters CBS and NBC, who received similar rulings on foul language.

The FCC has asked the court to delay the hearing and return the cases to them for review.

Fox called the FCC's request an "attempt to delay and possibly evade any judicial review of its new indecency enforcement regime".

Pressure

US broadcasters have been under pressure to clean up the airwaves since Janet Jackson's breast exposure during a dance routine at the 2004 Super Bowl.

Television network CBS was fined $550,000 (297,000) for the "wardrobe malfunction".

That figure represented the total sum of fines for individual affiliated stations - each limited to $32,500.

In March this year, the FCC proposed a record fine of $3.6m (1.9m) for an episode of the missing persons drama Without A Trace.

The penalty, split between 111 affiliates of CBS, was later reduced to $3.3m (1.8m).

Broadcasters are barred from airing indecent material between 6am and 10pm, although the restrictions do not apply to cable or satellite services.




SEE ALSO
Hefty rise in US indecency fines
16 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Indecency fines go up for US vote
03 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Janet's breast flash fine upheld
01 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
US TV stations face record fines
16 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
$550,000 fine for Janet exposure
23 Sep 04 |  Entertainment

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