TV station could be fined for 'wardrobe malfunction'

A US appeals court is to rule whether TV channel CBS deserved to be punished for singer Janet Jackson‘s infamous breast exposure at the 2004 Super Bowl.

The third US Circuit Court Of Appeals in Philadelphia will decide if the Federal Communications Commission was right to impose a £270,854 ($550,000) fine.

CBS argued that it should not be penalised for broadcasting “fleeting, isolated or unintended” images, reports BBC News.

The FCC contends that the broadcast “violated longstanding prohibitions”.

The incident, which prompted more than 500,000 complaints, was famously attributed to “a wardrobe malfunction” by singer Justin Timberlake, Jackson‘s duet partner on stage.

The FCC, however, claims CBS had some prior knowledge that the incident would take place – a charge robustly denied by the corporation.

CBS said: “Lacking any evidence to support the initial speculations about network complicity, the commission instead reached the illogical conclusion that the halftime show was designed to ‘pander to, titillate and shock the viewing audience’.”

It said that Viacom – the network’s owner at the time – “did not plan the sole part of the performance the FCC says made it indecent, the ‘costume reveal’, did not know about it in advance and did not sanction it”.

The case CBS has brought against the FCC is one of a series of challenges made against its indecency regulations.