[JURIST] The Federal Communications Commission [official website] on Wednesday proposed a record $3.6 million fine against CBS, its stations and affiliates for violating decency standards [FCC materials] by airing a graphic sex scene in the program "Without a Trace." The recommendation [FCC notice, PDF] comes as the FCC resolved over 300,000 complaints [press release, PDF] about close to 50 television programs on multiple networks aired between February 2002 and March 2005. Under the FCC proposal, dozens of stations and affiliates will be fined $32,500, the current maximum fine per indecency violation. The record fines were part of the first round of fines to be issued under current FCC Chairman Kevin Martin [official profile], who in the past has supported raising the maximum fine for indecency violations [JURIST news archive].
Also Wednesday, the FCC upheld its previously-proposed $550,000 fine against 20 CBS stations [JURIST report] for what it called the "broadcast of indecent material during the February 1, 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show":
The Commission rejects CBS' claim that the pulling off a portion of Janet Jackson's bustier to reveal her breast is not indecent. The Commission also holds that CBS consciously and willfully failed to take actions to prevent the broadcast of the material, and that CBS is responsible for the halftime show.
Read the full FCC press release [PDF] and forfeiture order [PDF]. AP has more.