Center Finds Lull in Smut Fines

Author:
Publish date:

The Center for Public Integrity reports that, as far as it can tell, the lull in indecency fines--none since December 2004--is the longest such gap since 2001 and follows a record 2004 that saw fines and settlements totaling over over $6 million.

The Center suggests that that lull may be partly the result of all those big ticket settlements, including most notably Viacom--all but Janet Jackson--and Clear Channel. More specifically, the chilling effect those settlement terms, including in-chouse crackdowns on indecency, had on employees who might otherwise have run afoul of the FCC.

The settlements included possible suspensions and terminations for anyone targeted by indecency complaints, essentially a "zero tolerance" policy.

That chill certainly could have an effect on the number of fines, but another contributing factor to the lull could be that all those complaints against Clear Channel and Viacom and Emmis Broadcasting that might have started showing up as fines in the last six months were expunged as part of those settlements.

Related