The Daily Stern: Indecent wack-a-mole
: The indecent indecency bill was dropped and a day later it’s baaaack.
The original bill was dropped because of cultural greed on the part of legislators who kept taking it farther and farther, adding bigger fines and fining more people and including cable and including violence and going after media consolidation and going after broadcast licenses. It became the He-Man-Media-Haters’ bill. Something went too far for enough people that it couldn’t make it through conference and onto the President’s desk.
But last night, another version was introduced and it’s just as heinous to the First Amendment and your free speech, for it will fine individuals up to $3 million per day for saying something the government vaguely considers offensive.
As of Friday evening, the proposal in discussion would allow the Federal Communications Commission to fine a station a maximum of $500,000 a violation, up from a maximum of $32,500 at present, with a limit of $3 million each 24-hour period for each corporation. In addition, performers, and not just the broadcasters, could be penalized.
: More detailed Bloomberg report here; Reuters here.
: Here is the message I just sent to my New Jersey senators and representative:
Please vote against the revived indecent indecency bill. Fining individuals to the point of bankruptcy for speech that is considered offensive under vague government rules is chilling to free speech, offensive to the First Amendment, and clearly unconstitutional.
A singer’s breast or a race-car driver’s s-word or a radio man’s fart is not dangerous to America. This bill is. Have the courage to stand up up against the Brownback militia.
I am a media executive in New Jersey and fear for the First Amendment.
Senator [Corzine/Lautenberg], please protect the First Amendment.
Send a note to your senator.