Friday, March 19, 2004
Broadcast decency act passed
Last week, Congress passed HR 3717, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, cosponsored by Congressman David Scott. The legislation passed by a vote of 391-22.
"Recently, there has been a great deal of attention focused on the increasing broadcast of inappropriate material on network television and radio stations across the nation," Congressman Scott said. "We currently have a good balance of protecting free speech and protecting the public airwaves from filth, derogatory language, and indecent acts. However, we need stronger penalties and tougher enforcement for violators. I stand with American families in believing that the broadcast industry needs to hear a clear message from Congress that they need to clean up their act," said Scott.
"It has become painfully obvious that current FCC penalties for decency violations are not an adequate deterrence to broadcasters and content producers. I am responding to the public outcry against these infractions by cosponsoring the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004. The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act will increase tenfold the statutory maximum the FCC can assess for violation of broadcast indecency, obscenity, and profanity laws. I am pleased that the Congress passed this legislation," continued Scott.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 3717 March 3. The bill would give the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to impose fines of up to $500,000 on both broadcast licensees and individuals that violate broadcast decency standards.
Broadcasters violating FCC decency rules multiple times will risk revocation of license renewals. H.R. 3717 would also require the FCC to take into account who is actually at fault by determining who created the programming and how much control the broadcaster had when the violation occurred.