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October 23, 2014

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Indecency Just Got 10 Times More Expensive
President Bush yesterday signed into law legislation that raises fines on over-the-air radio and TV broadcasters that violate US decency standards by airing extensive profanity or sexual content.

The new law increases fines from $32,500 to as much as $325,000 per violation. Additional, it also caps any continuing violations from an incident at $3 million.

The drive for the higher fines came when singer Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson's costume and briefly exposed her breast during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that aired live on national television.

Congressman Chip Pickering (R-MS) commented, "A healthy democracy requires a decent society; it requires that we are honorable, generous, tolerant and respectful. Our public airwaves provide a chance to affirm we want to be a good, decent people; a good, decent nation. America does not want vulgarity and sexual exploitation to be our values and we do not want the world to think those are our standards. We want to be a better nation and a better people, with better standards."

Pickering noted this law applies only to over-the-air broadcasters, but hopes the cable and satellite industries choose to promote decency and family safe programming.

NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton commented, "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."




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