Telecom Subcommittee Approves Indecency Bill - Broadcasting & Cable

Telecom Subcommittee Approves Indecency Bill

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The House Telecommunications Subcommittee Thursday unanimously approved a bill that at the very least will multiply Federal Communications Commission fines 10-fold and at most do everything from make networks liable for 90% of any indecency fine for their content to bringing violence under the FCC’s indecency purview as well.

A raft of amendments were introduced and immediately withdrawn so that they could be added to, fine-tuned, or combined. The final version will be reintroduced in a full markup, which is expected soon after Congress returns from next week’s President’s Day break.

Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton also tentatively scheduled another indecency hearing for Feb. 26, at which he expects to hear from all the major networks and an affiliate representative.

Other amendments included one that would make indecency fines a red flag at renewal time and the so-called "three strikes and you’re off" rule, making three indecency violations an automatic trigger for a license revocation hearing.

Upton said after the hearing that, constitutionally, the most problematic additions were including the violence category and due process concerns about the automatic revocation for three strikes.

He said he wanted to have a bill on the president’s desk by March.

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