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PTC Has Beef With Indecency Amendment

Jun 29, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The Parents Television Council suggested on Thursday that the Senate Commerce Committee went too far in eliminating indecency fines for independent network affiliates who broadcast network programming they didn’t know was offensive.

Two days after the committee added the language to legislation easing the way for phone companies to offer cable, the PTC called the move “well intentioned” but having the effect of “gutting” the recently approved legislation hiking indecency fines.

Dan Isett, PTC’s director of corporate and government affairs, said the amendment added by Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., was intended to remove fines when independently owned network affiliates haven’t been given the chance to review program content before it is aired.

He said PTC supports that intent, but as written the legislation would remove the ability of the FCC to fine the affiliates whenever they hadn’t seen a program in advance, effectively meaning that an affiliate that elected not to do pre-screening could never be fined.

“You have a problem the way it is structured,” he said. “They could never pre-screen and absolve themselves from responsibility. It’s a huge loophole. Somebody has to be responsible for indecency.”

Mr. Isett called the addition of the amendment without discussion “a little disconcerting” and said his group would work to change the language.