Lawmakers Unveil Tough Indecency Measure

Mar 15, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, introduced legislation Monday night that would raise the cap on broadcast indecency fines from $32,500 to $500,000 — and extend the government’s oversight of off-color programming to cable and satellite.

In addition, the measure would clear the way for the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on violent programming, whether on broadcast, basic cable or satellite.

Yet another provision would double a broadcaster’s weekly obligation to provide educational and informational programming for children from three hours to six. “I would welcome voluntary actions by the industry to address both indecency and gratuitous violence, but they aren’t stepping up to the plate, and that’s why Congress cannot wait any longer to protect our communities and our families,” Sen. Rockefeller said.

In response, Dan Jaffe, executive VP of the Association of National Advertisers, said, “We believe the proposal in regard to violence would be unconstitutional. We are hopeful Congress will not under the guise of protecting children censor a wide range of program content that is suitable for adults.”