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US House approves bill to increase FCC indecency fines tenfold

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives has voted 379-35 [roll call] to pass the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act [S 193 summary], a bill which would increase the maximum indecency [JURIST news archive] fines levied by the Federal Communications Commission [official website] from $32,500 to $325,000 per station for each violation. The House version approved late Wednesday Tuesday is identical to the version passed by the Senate [JURIST report] in May, clearing the way for President Bush's expected signature.

The House passed a different version of the bill last year [JURIST report; PDF text] which would have increased the maximum fine to $500,000 per violation, per station. After the approval of that bill, the National Association of Broadcasters came out against increased indecency penalties, saying in a brief statement [text] that "voluntary industry initiatives are far preferable to government regulation when dealing with programming issues." AP has more.

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