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FCC may reverse ruling that permitted expletive

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–If Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell has his way, an expletive for male-female relations may be a thing of the past at least on broadcast television and radio.

Last year singer Bono of the group U2 used the word during a live broadcast of the Golden Globes awards, saying that winning an award was “[expletive] brilliant.” That led the Parents Television Council to file a complaint with the FCC’s enforcement bureau, which subsequently ruled that the utterance was not indecent because it had been used as an adjective and did not describe a sexual function.

Now, The Washington Post reports that Powell wants to overturn that ruling and ban nearly all of the uses of the word on broadcast TV. There would be a few exceptions, such as political speech, the newspaper reported.

The five-member FCC commission — of which Powell is a member — must vote to overturn the ruling. But the proposal likely will pass, according to USA Today.

The Parents Television Council applauded the move but added that it must be backed by a fine.

“While we welcome the change of sprit on Powell’s part, and the FCC has tiptoed a little closer toward enforcing FCC decency rules by issuing this judgment, it still simply is not enough,” PTC President Brent Bozell said in a statement. “The problem is not that Bono uttered the [expletive]. The problem is that NBC deliberately chose to air it, has never apologized, and even has defended its behavior before the FCC.

“Network executives are not going to stop airing this filth until the FCC gets serious with their decency fines.”

But Powell may be ready to get tough with fines, too. Speaking at a National Press Club luncheon Jan. 14 Powell called on Congress to increase “by at least tenfold” the amount of fines the FCC can impose.

“Some of these finds are peanuts and they’re peanuts because they haven’t been touched in decades,” he said, according to The Pose. “They’re just the cost of doing business to a lot of producers and that has to change.”

The current maximum fine for each indecency is $27,500, The Post reported. Powell’s proposal may not include a fine on NBC, USA Today noted.

Powell wrote the Parents Television Council in November, saying he agreed with their arguments.

“Personally, I find use of the [expletive] on programming accessible to children reprehensible,” he wrote. “Like you, I have been troubled by recent media accounts discussing the implications of this decision on our airwaves.”

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