Broadcasters and program producers have asked the Supreme Court to review an appellate court ruling upholding the government’s right to ban indecent programming.
The request stems from a recent 7-4 decision in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declared constitutional the government’s right to restrict indecent programming on over-the-air television to the hours of 10 p.m.-6 a.m.
The court held that there is a “compelling interest” in protecting children under the age of 18 from exposure to indecent material.
Cable operators are not affected by the decision.
The decision was a major loss for broadcasters and First Amendment advocates. In two earlier cases, the courts struck down indecency restrictions on constitutional grounds.
Because of the conflicting opinions, Beltway insiders believe there is a reasonable chance the high court will accept the case.
Indecent programming is defined as “language or material that… depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards… sexual or excretory activities or organs.”