US govt fines Fox for indecency

In an unusual move, the US Justice Department sued Fox Broadcasting and another broadcaster to collect $56,000 (€36,000) in fines for the broadcast of a raunchy reality show in 2003 that included scenes from bachelor and bachelorette parties, an Associated Press report said.

Fox's 'Married by America' included the 'thrusting of a male stripper's crotch into a woman's face' in one show in addition to other scenes the agency found objectionable, according to a complaint filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the Associated Press report said.

In October 2004, the Federal Communications Commission issued a $7,000 (€4,500) fine against 169 Fox-affiliated stations totaling $1.2 million (€760,000).

The fines were assessed regardless of whether a complaint was lodged against a particular station, the report said.

Fox challenged the FCC's action and last month the FCC dropped the complaints against all but 13 stations, which were the subject of actual viewer complaints. The move lowered the total fine to $91,000 (€58,000).

Despite the decision, Fox, a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., said it would not pay the fines because the FCC's decision in the case was 'arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with precedent and patently unconstitutional,' the Associated Press report further said.