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FCC Raises Fines for "Indecency"


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WASHINGTON - House members are looking to hit broadcasters where it hurts ? the pocketbook ? to crack down on racy programming.

 

A bill with strong bipartisan support would boost the maximum fine for indecency from $32,500 to $500,000 for a company and from $11,000 to $500,000 for an individual entertainer.

 

It passed the House Commerce Committee 46-2 last week. The full House planned to consider it Wednesday.

 

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who chairs the committee?s telecommunications panel and introduced the bill, said he expects it to pass with ease.

 

?Last week?s vote is pretty reflective of the whole House,? he said.

 

Upton sponsored a similar bill last year. It easily won House passage, but lawmakers couldn?t work out a compromise agreement with the Senate, which approved a different version.

 

The Federal Communications Commission has stepped up enforcement of the indecency statute, perhaps most notably with a $550,000 fine against CBS for its 2004 Super Bowl broadcast that included Janet Jackson?s breast-baring ?wardrobe malfunction.? Radio personality Howard Stern also has been a frequent target.

 

Fines for indecent programming exceeded $7.7 million last year. Four years ago, FCC fines totaled just $48,000.

 

The FCC has wide latitude to impose fines. It can fine an individual company, groups of stations owned by a company and individual entertainers. In the case of CBS, it imposed a fine of $27,500 against each of 20 stations owned by the network.

 

All five members of the FCC ? three Republicans and two Democrats ? favor greatly increasing the fines.

 

The House bill would allow the FCC to fine an individual entertainer, such as a disc jockey, without first issuing a warning, which is the case now. The FCC has never before issued such a fine.

 

Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Henry Waxman, D-Calif., were the only two Commerce Committee members to vote against the measure last week, contending it would curb free speech and cause more broadcasters and entertainers to censor themselves.

 

Schakowsky cited the example of several ABC affiliates which last year did not air the World War II drama ?Saving Private Ryan? over worries that violence and profanity would lead to fines, even though the movie already had aired on network TV.

 

?I think this is a slippery slope on the way for Big Brother to erode the First Amendment,? she said Tuesday. ?The result is that we are entering into a time of self-censorship.?

 

The indecency law bars nonsatellite radio and noncable television stations from airing ? between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. ? indecent material such as references to sexual and excretory functions. Those are the hours when children are more likely to be watching TV.

 

Under FCC rules and federal law, radio stations and over-the-air television channels cannot air obscene material at any time, and cannot air indecent material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The FCC defines obscene material as describing sexual conduct ?in a patently offensive way? and lacking ?serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.? Indecent material is not as offensive but still contains references to sex or excretions.

 

Broadcasters say they are forced to guess at what constitutes indecency because the statute is so blurry. Because of the confusion and the fear of fines, some have become extremely gun-shy.

 

The House bill gives affiliates protection from fines in instances in which they carry network programming that later is deemed indecent. It also requires the FCC to hold a license revocation hearing after a third offense by a broadcaster, and to respond to an indecency complaint from a viewer or listener within six months.

 

A similar bill in the Senate calls for raising the maximum fine on broadcasters for an indecency violation to $325,000, with a cap of $3 million for one day, but does not include any of the other provisions the House bill does. The House bill does not include any caps.

 

The Senate Commerce Committee has not yet announced when it will take up its bill again.

 

Somehow I think that this is just the beginning...

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Indecent material is not as offensive but still contains references to sex or excretions.

 

Thank God children can still see people get ripped in half by machine guns or eat pounds of rotting flesh and insects on TV before they go to bed. Nothing like the social conservatives not letting parents have a free reign and forcing parents to be responsible for their kids.

 

:plain

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Indecent material is not as offensive but still contains references to sex or excretions.

 

Thank God children can still see people get ripped in half by machine guns or eat pounds of rotting flesh and insects on TV before they go to bed. Nothing like the social conservatives not letting parents have a free reign and forcing parents to be responsible for their kids.

 

:plain

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I thought that said "sex or erections".

 

 

Meh.

 

All these penis pumping pills keep me off balance.

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The FCC can only fine what is on the basic channels, like NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX etc. Cable can show whatever they feel like showing. I personnally dont give a s*** that they have standards by which these networks must live by. Now once they start telling FX that Nip/Tuck is excessive or that the Sopranos must be toned down, Ill be the first to complain. But we are talking about network channels, I only watch these stations if there is a sports game on, or to watch the news, the rest is crap.

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The FCC can only fine what is on the basic channels, like NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX etc. Cable can show whatever they feel like showing. I personnally dont give a s*** that they have standards by which these networks must live by. Now once they start telling FX that Nip/Tuck is excessive or that the Sopranos must be toned down, Ill be the first to complain. But we are talking about network channels, I only watch these stations if there is a sports game on, or to watch the news, the rest is crap.

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Still, the major stations are the ones watched by more people than any of the cable stations. What I don't understand is why FOX shows a lot of racy stuff, and still manages to avoid fines by the FCC. Anyone else smell a conspiracy?

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The FCC can only fine what is on the basic channels, like NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX etc. Cable can show whatever they feel like showing. I personnally dont give a s*** that they have standards by which these networks must live by. Now once they start telling FX that Nip/Tuck is excessive or that the Sopranos must be toned down, Ill be the first to complain. But we are talking about network channels, I only watch these stations if there is a sports game on, or to watch the news, the rest is crap.

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Still, the major stations are the ones watched by more people than any of the cable stations.

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That is why I dont really mind the FCC regulating the networks. There has to be a standard for what is on Free TV. Are you truly upset that you cant see ass crack on ABC, but you can on FX. Does it really bother you that CBS was fined for the SB titty. If Clinton were President at the time does CBS get fined for the titty? I think yes they still get fined.

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The FCC can only fine what is on the basic channels, like NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX etc. Cable can show whatever they feel like showing. I personnally dont give a s*** that they have standards by which these networks must live by. Now once they start telling FX that Nip/Tuck is excessive or that the Sopranos must be toned down, Ill be the first to complain. But we are talking about network channels, I only watch these stations if there is a sports game on, or to watch the news, the rest is crap.

687697[/snapback]

Still, the major stations are the ones watched by more people than any of the cable stations. What I don't understand is why FOX shows a lot of racy stuff, and still manages to avoid fines by the FCC. Anyone else smell a conspiracy?

687701[/snapback]

 

really?

 

FCC Fines Fox $1.2M For Indecency

 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2004

 

(AP) Federal regulators proposed a record indecency fine of nearly $1.2 million Tuesday against Fox Broadcasting Co. for an episode of its reality series "Married by America" that included graphic scenes from bachelor and bachelorette parties.

 

The Federal Communications Commission said the material, which featured male and female Las Vegas strippers in a variety of sexual situations, was indecent and patently offensive, intended to "pander to and titillate the audience."

 

FCC commissioners voted unanimously to fine each of the 169 Fox TV stations that aired the program $7,000. Fox has 30 days to appeal the fines, which total $1,183,000.

 

The fine is the most ever for a television broadcaster. The previous record of $550,000 was levied against CBS last month for the Super Bowl halftime show last February that included a racy duet in which singer Janet Jackson's breast was briefly exposed.

 

It's also the first indecency fine against a reality television show, though other complaints are being investigated, the FCC said.

 

A spokesman for Fox Broadcasting Co., Joe Earley, would not say whether the network planned to appeal.

 

"We disagree with the FCC's decision and believe the content is not indecent," he said.

 

The six-episode "Married by America," which got dismal ratings, introduced a cast of single men and women and allowed viewers to match them up by popular vote. Five matched couples then went through some of the rituals of dating. None actually got married.

 

The episode in question, which aired April 7, 2003, featured explicitly sexual scenes from their bachelor and bachelorette parties.

 

"Even with Fox's editing, the episode includes scenes in which partygoers lick whipped cream from strippers' bodies in a sexually suggestive manner," the FCC said. "Another scene features a man on all fours in his underwear as two female strippers spank him. Although the episode electronically obscures any nudity, the sexual nature of the scenes is inescapable."

 

Following the broadcast, the commission received 159 complaints.

 

"Although the nudity was pixilated, even a child would have known that the strippers were topless and that sexual activity was being shown," the FCC said.

 

Federal law bars radio and non-cable television stations from airing references to sexual and excretory functions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., the hours when children are more likely to be watching television. The Fox show aired at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., depending on the city.

...

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/12/...ain648911.shtml

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i hate them.

 

we are so freaking conservative as it is compared to all other developed nations in the free world.

 

...and you're still here because?

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I'm sorry, but telling people to just leave the country if they don't like something isn't how things change for the better in this country.

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you guys better get with the program.

 

sex = evil

swearing = evil

greed = good

violence = good

 

A brief flash of a F*cking nipple gets months of hyperventilating news coverage. More people knew about that than what's going on in Iraq for christ sakes.

 

If sex is the big problem, the FCC might want to take a look at Comcast, General Motors, and the other giant corporations that broadcast in porn. Not to mention the internet. Porn & sex industry sells zillions.

 

And then a big fine for Howard Stern saying naughty words. The FCC is laughable.

 

and I agree Legacy, I think even violence has more potential for damaging kids than sex or nudity does.

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If only the fiscal conservtives were more socially liberal. That would be a great state of affairs for this country, no more of this censorship crap, and a lot more freedom for people overall.

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of course if that were to happen, the republicans would never hold a majority again.

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If only the fiscal conservtives were more socially liberal. That would be a great state of affairs for this country, no more of this censorship crap, and a lot more freedom for people overall.

688395[/snapback]

of course if that were to happen, the republicans would never hold a majority again.

688797[/snapback]

 

There are enough Bible thumpers to keep those "immoral" people in check, but they'd probably never hold a majority.

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If only the fiscal conservtives were more socially liberal. That would be a great state of affairs for this country, no more of this censorship crap, and a lot more freedom for people overall.

688395[/snapback]

of course if that were to happen, the republicans would never hold a majority again.

688797[/snapback]

 

There are enough Bible thumpers to keep those "immoral" people in check, but they'd probably never hold a majority.

688960[/snapback]

The Bible Belt still covers a large area of the country..

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