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Powell Clears Up Confusion About Indecency

Powell Clears Up Confusion About Indecency

FCC Chairman Michael Powell says it’s a misconception that the FCC has only recently begun to focus on indecency enforcement. Speaking to attendees at NAB2004, he conceded the fines have grown, and the commission has begun fining stations per indecent utterance, rather than per program.
“The increase in enforcement is in response to public complaints,” Powell said. The agency received 250,000 indecency complaints in 2003 and so far in 2004, the number is nearly 540,000.
The agency is trying to be faster in resolving such cases, Powell said. But as he did after the NAB’s Responsible Programming Summit, Powell re-iterated it’s better for broadcasters to control what’s on their airwaves then to have government step in with a mandate.
“You do not want the government to write a ‘Red Book’ of what you can say and not say,” stressed the chairman.
Broadcasters want indecency statues to apply to cable and satellite as well. When asked his views on the issue, Powell said, “I think the government should be conservative about regulating content for anybody.” He stressed that Congress needs to get involved in the issue, rather an unelected set of commissioners deciding it.