WWII documentary may incur indecency fines

The government's crackdown on media indecency could prevent World War II veterans from sharing their stories in an upcoming TV documentary series by Ken Burns, the head of the Public Broadcasting Service said Wednesday.

Noted filmmaker Burns' highly anticipated seven-part series The War features salty language used by servicemen and others. If the expletives make it to air, they could lead to crippling fines for the offending stations as a result of a new law signed last month by President Bush.

Paula Kerger, the president and CEO of PBS, told reporters at a media event in Pasadena, California, that she was reluctant to bleep the words out, because that would diminish the impact of the documentary. Airing the film after 10 p.m., when the new rules do not apply, would reduce the available audience, she said.

"The American people need to know this is not about Janet Jackson," Kerger said, referring to the singer's breast-baring turn at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. The incident sent shockwaves through Capitol Hill and spurred the bipartisan push to boost fines for indecency violations.

Under the new law, fines rise to as much as $325,000 per violation from $32,500. Television and radio broadcasters are barred from airing obscene material and are limited from broadcasting indecent material between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., times when children are likely to be watching.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has defined indecency as "language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities."

Karger said she had unsuccessfully tried to get advance clearance for the documentary from the five members of the Republican-controlled broadcast regulator. But the FCC's policy is not to deliver an opinion before a broadcast.

PBS does have a favorable precedent. The FCC unanimously ruled last year that an airing of Steven Spielberg's gritty World War II film Saving Private Ryan did not violate broadcast standards.

The War, set to debut in the fall, will focus on the stories of ordinary people in four towns to show how the war touched the lives of every family throughout America.

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better still, get the WW11 veterans to tell him on the documentary.
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You americans really need to tell Bush to go ****

himself.
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The Bush Administration (through the FCC) has gone too far. Documentary programs are NOT "indecent" [even though THEY may consider the approach to the subject matter to be so], and I support public televsion's efforts to show Ken Burns' documentary "THE WAR" UNEDITED and all the "cuss" words intact! After all, what kind of language do our soldiers in Iraq use these days????
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This has gotten to an insane level of idiocy.
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So it's okay to show people getting killed and injured in a war but it's not okay to air four-letter words? These rules are confusing.

Oh, and if the US Government is so worried about bad language someone should tell Dubya not to say words like "sh*t."
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[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]
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What bull.
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