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Bush signs bill to increase FCC indecency fines

[JURIST] One week after the US House of Representatives voted [JURIST report] 379-35 [roll call] to pass the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act [S 193 summary], President Bush signed into law [remarks] the legislation that will increase by tenfold the maximum fine for indecency, from $32,500 to $325,000 per station for each violation. The Senate passed the bill [JURIST report] in May. The effort to increase penalties against broadcasters has been a recurrent theme in Congress since Janet Jackson's 2004 Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" [Wikipedia backgrounder].

The House passed a different version of the bill [JURIST report; PDF text] last year which would have increased the maximum fine to $500,000 per violation, per station. After the approval of that bill, the National Association of Broadcasters [trade website] came out against increased indecency penalties, saying in a brief statement [text] that "voluntary industry initiatives are far preferable to government regulation when dealing with programming issues." NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton repeated the basic point [NAB statement] after the Bush signing Wednesday: "In issues related to programming content, NAB believes responsible self-regulation is preferable to government regulation. If there is regulation, it should be applied equally to cable and satellite TV, and satellite radio." AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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