US television networks battling the new puritanism sweeping the nation have accused the government's media watchdog of putting boulders in the path of legal wheels in a bid to uphold broadcast indecency penalties.

The Federal Communications Commission has been slapped with a legal petition by CBS and Fox Television over its alleged attempts to hurry through appellate review of the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction.

CBS has paid the $550,000 (€431k; £294.9k) fine imposed for televising the baring of the singer's breast during the 2004 Super Bowl interval. However, the network has only done so to challenge the FCC's legal right to levy the penalty [WAMN: 01-Aug-06].

CBS and Fox claim other pending indecency cases have been stalled by the watchdog in hopes of having its decision upheld in the possibly more clear-cut Janet Jackson case.

The petition says: "The FCC's tactics raise a serious question as to whether the commission is attempting to manipulate the judicial process to obtain a decision [on the Super Bowl incident] prior to any judicial review relating to fleeting expletives [in other cases]."

There is no comment from the FCC.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff