Upton applauds move to boost fine for indecency to $500,000

Published 7:24 am Thursday, March 4, 2004

By Staff
WASHINGTON -- Niles' congressman, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, applauded Wednesday's approval of his legislation to clean up the airwaves by the full Energy and Commerce Committee.
The committee also adopted Upton's amendment to substantially strengthen his legislation, H.R. 3717, the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004."
The committee approved Upton's bill, 49-1. The legislation is expected to be considered by the full House next week.
Upton's amendment raises the fines the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can levy for indecency to a cap of $500,000 per violation.
Under current law, the maximum the FCC can fine per violation is $27,500. The measure also mandates a license revocation hearing after the third offense by a broadcaster and also institutes a 180-day "shot clock" for the FCC to determine if broadcasters were in violation of indecency standards.
Upton also included language to protect affiliates from fines in instances, like the Super Bowl, where they did not know what was soon to be broadcast by the network.
Although the FCC has no jurisdiction over cable, significant steps have been taken by the cable industry on indecency.
Tuesday the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) launched its new consumer education campaign -- Cable Puts You in Control -- to assist viewers, particularly parents, in making informed decisions about what they watch on television.
Also this week, Comcast announced it is launching its own campaign to assist its customers and parents with both choice and control over their viewing.
Upton applauds the pro-active, family-friendly steps taken by the cable industry.
Upton introduced H.R. 3717 Jan. 21 to increase the financial penalties which the FCC can impose on broadcasters who air obscenity, indecency and profanity on television and radio.
The Bush administration came out in support of the bill on Jan. 28.