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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of HR 3717, Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004

Location: Washington, DC

PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3717, BROADCAST DECENCY ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - March 11, 2004)


Mr. UPTON. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith), an original cosponsor of the legislation.

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, first of all, I would like to thank the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Upton) for yielding me this time, but also for introducing this legislation.

Mr. Chairman, the broadcast of offensive language is a growing and disturbing trend. Members of the Parents Television Council, a group that monitors television broadcasts, filed 85,000 complaints about broadcast obscenity and indecency with the Federal Communications last year.

The networks have pushed the limits of decency to the point that family-oriented programs and enjoyable American pastimes, such as the Super Bowl, are no longer safe for our children to watch.

Unfortunately, the FCC has given television and radio stations too much power to broadcast behavior or language they believe will bring in the high ratings or advertising dollars. This undermines standards of common decency and impedes the ability of parents to raise their children free from exposure to profane language.

Low fines for indecency only encourage more indecency. It has become apparent some performers will accept a small fine for offensive and crude behavior in return for the media attention its creates. This is one of the reasons I support this legislation that increases fines for indecent language on radio and television.

Mr. Chairman, this is not a constitutional issue. The Supreme Court has upheld the FCC's authority to regulate broadcasts. In fact, the court said "Of all forms of communication, broadcasting has the most limited first amendment protection. Among the reasons is that broadcasting is uniquely accessible to children."

The entertainment industry has become increasingly isolated from the American people. We are still a Nation that believes in standards of common decency and respect for traditional values. This bill will help us uphold those values.

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