Senate Jacks Up On-Air Indecency Fines
Posted on Jun 11, 2006
The maximum penalty for broadcasting indecent material on radio and television will increase tenfold to $325,000 under legislation passed by the House yesterday that awaits only a promised presidential signature.
The bill, called the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, was passed unanimously by the Senate last month and cleared the House by a vote of 379-35. President Bush has vowed to sign the bill into law; it would allow the Federal Communications Commission to powerfully punish over-the-air broadcasters for airing raunchy content. The bill keeps cable and satellite broadcasters outside of the government’s authority to police the airwaves.
Yesterday’s vote culminates a three-year culture clash among lawmakers, regulators, broadcasters, interest groups, lawyers and ordinary consumers about what can and can’t be said on radio and television, and how much authority the government should have over artistic expression and free speech.
Above: The wardrobe malfunction that made the FCC realize the danger that breasts pose to the American family.