Family Groups Push Indecency Bill

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Self-described pro-family groups are banding together to push for indecency legislation, using as a spur the broadcast networks and their affiliates' court challenge of some of the FCC's findings that certain profanities are indecent.

The FCC has let the industry know that it will increasingly target language; now, some major industry players have told the FCC what it thinks of that increased effort.

The Parents Television Council, Concerned Women For America, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council have scheduled a conference call for Tuesday to push for a Senate bill that would boost indecency fines by at least 10 times.

A House bill already passed, but a Senate bill has yet to materialize. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens has at times suggested it would be brought up this session, but at others has argued that industry self-regulation efforts, like the Jack Valenti ratings/V-Chip education initiative, might preempt the need for legislation.

Valenti is outlining his progress on that effort at the NAB convention in Las Vegas this week.

The family groups say they want to "curb the deluge of indecent programming that’s already flooding the living rooms of families across the U.S."

The drumbeat for increased FCC enforcement stemmed from the Janet Jackson Super Bowl half-time reveal. Immediately afterward there were Congressional hearings and bipartisan support for legislation

Those legislative passions have cooled somewhat as speech concerns, particularly among some Democrats, began to trump some of the initial high dudgeon.
Elsewhere, the Christian Coalition is also pushing for action Tuesday. It put out an alert to members telling them to contact their legislators Tuesday and demand passage of the Senate bill, pointing out that it has been a year since the House passed the version motormanned by House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton.
The coalition is calling on Majority Leader Bill Frist for an immediate Senate floor vote on the House bill, which would avoid having to conference the already-passed House bill with a Senate version that had differences in, say, the amount of the fine.
The House version upped the $32,500-fine maximum per incident to $500,000, while some in the Senate had pushed for a tenfold hike.

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