[JURIST] AP is reporting that the US House has approved a dramatic increase in fines for indecent broadcast programming.
3:38 PM ET - The House passed the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 [bill summary] by a vote of 389-38 [vote results]. The bill raises the maximum fine for indecent programming to $500,000 for both companies and individual entertainers. The current maximum penalty for companies is $32,500, and entertainers currently face an $11,000 maximum fine. The White House has said that it strongly supports the bill, which "will make broadcast television and radio more suitable for family viewing." Opponents of the bill say that increased penalties will stifle free speech. The Senate is currently considering a similar measure, and any differences in the two versions will have to be resolved before the bill can go to President Bush for his signature. The two houses were unable to reach a compromise on the issue last year. The FCC has background on broadcast decency standards. AP has more.