Current Issues With Fcc Broadcast Indecency Regulations Essay

1636 WordsNov 11, 20167 Pages
II. Current issues with FCC broadcast indecency regulations Two years after the Janet Jackson incident, Congress passed legislation increasing the FCC’s maximum fine for indecency tenfold, from $32,500 to $325,000. In a floor statement, then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said that “[w]hen families are watching a Sunday night football game, they shouldn’t have to brace themselves for a televised strip tease.” However, the Commission waited nearly a decade before finally announcing its first maximum fine of $325,000 against WDBJ Television, Inc., in Roanoke, Virginia. WDBJ broadcasted a news report about a former adult film star who joined a local volunteer rescue squad, including a video clip depicting the woman’s head and shoulders obtained from a video distributor’s website. The clip from the website featured a number of small boxes off to the side with previews of other videos, one of which featured a hand manipulating an erect penis. The staff at WDBJ failed to edit out the auxiliary clips because they appeared outside of the viewing constraints of the station’s editing bay. The small clip at issue aired for approximately three seconds of the three minute and twenty-second segment. The Commission found the brief depiction both extreme and grave, justifying its increase from its base fine of $7,000 to its maximum fine of $325,000. In issuing the fine, the Commission wrote that the “broadcast was extremely graphic, lewd, and offensive, and this action
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