Not that it aggravates the majority in Aust (our ex-PM and the current Opposition leader have both sworn in TV interviews but no one much cared, with Kevin Rudd most famously complaining that the Chinese were 'ratf*cking us' at the Copenhagen conference). There's been no problem with films like Pulp Fiction being broadcast uncut here, only anything with "strong coarse language" must have that disclaimer at the start and be shown after 9.30pm. Parents are expected to make their own decisions and take responsibility in this regard. So I thought it was interesting to learn that swearing was actually banned on US free-to-air TV at all...and that it now appears to be a 1st Amendment issue: US court rules that when s--- happens on TV, it's not an offence SIMON MANN July 16, 2010 WASHINGTON: A US law banning "fleeting expletives" on television, mostly profanities uttered accidentally during live broadcasts, has been thrown out by an appeals court because it threatened free speech "at the heart of the First Amendment". A three-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York described the law as vague and inconsistent as well as unconstitutional. Critics said the decision meant open slather for the "F word" on television. But headline writers had a field day. "Oh %@!, they bleeped the indecency rules!", declared the Los Angeles Times. The fleeting-expletive policy – which was introduced by the Federal Communications Commission in 2004 and led to record fines for erring broadcasters – came into effect after a series of slip-ups during live broadcasts, notably by U2's lead singer, Bono, at the 2003 Golden Globes awards when he uttered the phrase "f---ing brilliant". About the same time, the reality TV show star Nicole Richie said during a Billboard awards show: "Have you ever tried to get cows--- out of a Prada purse? It's not so f---ing simple." The commission warned of fines of up to $US35 million($39.7 million) each breach, ruling that the "F word" in any context "inherently has a sexual connotation". The ban applied on network television between 6am and 10pm. Previously, regulators had focused mostly on scripted indecent material, turning a blind eye to mishaps during live broadcasts. Networks guard against censure over the former by "bleeping out" profanities for domestic viewers while retaining the dialogue in copies to be exported to other countries, including Australia. The appeals court judges said: "By prohibiting all 'patently offensive' references to sex, sexual organs and excretion without giving adequate guidance as to what 'patently offensive' means, the [commission] effectively chills speech, because broadcasters have no way of knowing what the FCC will find offensive." Writing on behalf of the panel, Judge Rosemary Pooler pointed to the commission's inconsistency: while it found some commonly used expressions to be indecent, others, such as "up yours" and "kiss my ***", were found not to be patently offensive. "The English language is rife with creative ways of depicting sexual or excretory organs or activities," she wrote. "Even if the FCC were able to provide a complete list of all such expressions, new offensive and indecent words are invented every day." The judges said the rule placed an unfair burden on networks trying to second-guess the commission and in effect promoted self-censorship "of valuable material which should be completely protected under the First Amendment [of the constitution]". The policy had been challenged by Fox Television, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. The US Supreme Court last year upheld the policy on procedural grounds, but sent it to the appeals court to test its constitutional validity. The appeals court judges said they thought the commission could yet craft a policy that did not violate the First Amendment. Tim Winter, the president of the Parents Television Council, said: "For parents and families around the country, this ruling is nothing less than a slap in their face." US court rules that when s--- happens on TV, it's not an offence So I'm wondering, this is a particularly 'cultural' difference (America's Puritan origins etc?) Stands to reason a nation mainly consisting of convicts initially wouldn't be really bothered.