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April 28, 2009

NAB Statement on Today's Supreme Court Action Regarding 'Fleeting Expletives'

WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Federal Communications Commission can fine broadcasters for the single utterance of an expletive, throwing out a Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision that had found the FCC policy to be arbitrary and capricious. The Supreme Court ruling did not consider whether the "fleeting expletives" policy undermines the First Amendment.

Commenting on the Supreme Court ruling, Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of media relations for the National Association of Broadcasters, issued the following statement:

"Regardless of today's opinion, broadcasters will continue to offer programming that is reflective of the diverse communities we serve. Nonetheless, we're disappointed the court majority seemingly failed to understand the need for clear and consistent regulatory policies, especially in light of the various ways audiences now receive broadcast programming. We continue to believe that voluntary self regulation -- coupled with blocking technologies like the V-chip -- is far preferable to government regulation of program content, and we question why speech restrictions should apply only to broadcasters."

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. As the voice of more than 8,300 radio and television stations, NAB advances their interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at

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