US Senate Ups TV 'Indecency' Fines Tenfold

23 May 2006

'Indecency' on television - as exemplified by last year's 'accidental' baring of a human mammary gland - is set to get a lot more expensive.

Currently such violations of the Federal Communications Commission decency code cost the transgressor a maximum of $32,500 - petty cash by the standards of the major broadcast and cable networks.

However, Senate majority leader Bill Frist (Republican, Tennessee) aims to up the stakes by a multiple of ten and last week piloted a bill through the US Senate requiring the FCC to impose a draconian $325,000 per violation.

Fumed Frist: "Faced with only minimal penalties, some broadcasters for too long have flouted these standards with no regard for the negative impact on impressionable children.

"This bill seeks to change that by establishing greater consequences for broadcasters' bottom line through increased fines for violations."

Broadcasters can be forgiven a tad of confusion, in that the Senate and the House of Representatives have yet to coordinate their respective penalties. The former has opted for $325k per violation; the latter $500,000.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff