The decision to levy a $550,000 (£280,000) fine against US network CBS owing to singer Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" has been defended in court.

CBS has lodged an appeal against the ruling by the federal communications commission (FCC), claiming that Jackson's right breast was exposed for less than a second.

The network says that the TV watchdog has not imposed fines in other brief incidents of nudity or profanity.

But in a statement to an appeals court the FCC said that it concluded the "display of nudity violated longstanding federal prohibitions on the broadcast of indecent material".

Jackson's breast was exposed towards the end of her half-time show with Justin Timberlake at the 2004 Super Bowl at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

As he sang the line "I'm going to have you naked by the end of this song", Timberlake ripped off part of his co-performer's costume to reveal her right breast, but CBS instantly switched to an aerial view of the stadium.

The network was forced to pay a fine of $27,500 (£14,000) for each of the 20 stations it owned at the time.

A record 200,000 complaints were received in the aftermath of the incident.

Earlier this year the Rolling Stones agreed to censor some of their more explicit lyrics at the Super Bowl half-time show.

23/12/2006 12:28:11