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House votes to raise fines for indecent broadcast to $500,000
3/15/2004

By a 391-22 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives decided last week to increase fines sharply for broadcasting material determined to be indecent and directed the FCC to launch license revocation proceedings for radio and television station owners after three occurrences.

The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act would raise fines for violating the indecency ban charging broadcasters and entertainers from $27,500 to $500,000 per incident.

An effort to address broadcast indecency in the Senate has won approval of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. The bill, which is awaiting floor action, would stagger fines from $275,000 for an initial violation, $375,000 for a second and $500,000 for a third. The Senate bill would give the FCC authorization to double fines for shows viewed by atypically large audiences, like the Super Bowl. The legislation also halts media ownership rule changes the commission implemented last summer until the issue is fully studied.

The White House has indicated support for the House bill.

For more information, please visit: http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:HR03717 and http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:S.2056.

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