Brownback to Push TV-Content Regulation - Multichannel

Brownback to Push TV-Content Regulation

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Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) is hoping that the Senate Appropriations Committee will adopt language Thursday to give the Federal Communications Commission more power to regulate indecent and violent content on broadcast television.

Brownback prepared an amendment that would allow the FCC to punish the fleeting broadcast of the “F-word” and the “S-word,” overturning a federal court ruling in June that said the FCC’s crackdown on isolated profanity violated the law.

"Broadcasters should not be allowed to use the public airways to disseminate violent or obscene material," said Brownback, a GOP presidential candidate, in a prepared statement Tuesday. "The abundance of indecent material on television is one indication of the coarsening of our culture."

FCC chairman Kevin Martin reacted strongly to the court ruling, saying that a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was condoning the broadcast of foul language when children are watching TV in large numbers.

A second Brownback amendment would empower the FCC to regulate for first time in agency history “excessively violent video programming” on broadcast TV.

“Parents should not have such a difficult time protecting their children from broadcast television. The FCC's ability to restrict the gratuitous use of obscene, violent and indecent content on broadcast television is essential to the protection of children and families,” Brownback said.

In a TV-violence study by the FCC in April, Martin said the a la carte sale of TV channels would meet less resistance in court than other forms of content regulation, such as limiting indecent and violent content to late-night hours.

Last year, in an effort led by Brownback, Congress enacted a law that increased maximum broadcast indecency fines from $32,500 to $325,000 per offense.