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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it will enforce the federal broadcast indecency law against WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia. The new enforcement action was passed by a unanimousvote of the five member commission and imposes the maximum penalty of $325,000 – the largest single forfeiture proposed in the history of FCC enforcement.
The penalty stems from a July 12, 2012 6 PM news broadcast about a former pornography performer which included a clip of a pornographic video.
Cathy Ruse, FRC’s Senior Legal Fellow, released the following statement in response to the FCC action:
“We are grateful to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and all of the commissioners for this enforcement action. This action should serve as a strong reminder to other stations and networks that there are laws in place to protect the public airways and those laws will be enforced. The fact that the FCC chose to pursue the highest possible fine is a good sign that it is taking this transgression very seriously.
"Federal law prohibits “indecent” broadcasts on TV and radio between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Indecency is defined as: “language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.
“Parents have a tough enough job raising their kids today without having to worry that they will be exposed to patently offensive sexual material on broadcast TV,” said Ruse. “The American people have passed laws to protect their public airways and no network or station is above the law.”