FTC to Hike 'Broadcast Indecency' Fines

21 June 2004

The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday it is to increase the maximum fine for indecent material on broadcast television and radio to $32,500 (€26,819; £17,693) an incident -- an increase of eighteen percent.

The hike is allegedly to adjust for inflation, a curious claim given that the latter is currently running at around 3.1% (in the twelve months to May 30).

The New Puritan zeal that currently pervades congress may see the fines rise higher yet. The House has already passed a bill to raise fines to a maximum of $500,000 an incident, and Senator Sam Brownback (Republican, Kansas) is expected today to try to raise the ceiling to $3 million daily.

Congress is eager to increase the penalties in the light of the massive profits made by the nation's largest broadcasters -- alongside which the current fines are mere petty cash. The new penalties are likely to bite effective August at latest.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff