President Signs Smut Bill - Broadcasting & Cable

President Signs Smut Bill

Author:
Publish date:

It's official. Surrounded by beaming senators and congressmen, as well as a smiling FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and the other commissioners, President George W. Bush Thursday signed the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act.

The president said last week he was eager to sign the bill, which boosts the FCC's maximum fines for indecency to $325,000 per incident, compared with the previous $32,500 maximum.

He seemed just as eager Thursday. Saying that the government's goal was to encourage more family friendly programming, he took responsibility for the new fines.
"People expect us to adhere to our responsibilities," he said. "He's [Chairman Martin] a part of the executive branch. And since I'm the head of the executive branch, I take responsibility, as well, for putting people in place at the FCC who understand one of their jobs, and an important job, is to protect American families."
The bill is the product of several factors, including the FCC's desire for higher fines and congressional and anti-indecency activist pressure following two high-profile incidents, singer Bono's f-word on the Golden Globes NBC telecast and Janet Jackson's "reveal" on CBS.

Essentially, boosting the fines was about the least Congress could do and still tell voters in the midterm election that they had done something. A tougher bill that threatened station licenses and performers met with too much opposition from TV stations and unions.

Related