News

Barton Expects Cable Indecency Law

4/19/2004 6:25 AM Eastern

Las Vegas -- The cable industry can expect to be regulated under federal indecency rules sometime in the "foreseeable future," House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) said Monday at the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention here.

Barton -- a lawmaker with the clout to make or break such legislation -- said current laws that fine TV and radio stations but not cable operators for indecent programming were unfair and would likely need to be expanded to include pay TV providers.

"I am just saying that in the foreseeable future, you are going to see a convergence. I stand by that," Barton told reporters here.

Asked to define foreseeable future, Barton said, "The next three or four years, probably."

He indicated that cable should be covered because cable networks are as widely seen as broadcast networks.

"The impact [of indecency programming] is going to be the same in the home. It's irrelevant what the ownership or the origination of it is," he added.

March