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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
US broadcasters fight indecency
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
Janet Jackson's performance caused uproar in the US
US broadcasters want to regulate the airwaves themselves after a spate of incidents including Janet Jackson's breast exposure during the Super Bowl.

A taskforce will meet later this month to discuss a voluntary code of conduct and other options, according to the National Association of Broadcasters.

The group hopes the move will head off new government regulations to stop shows broadcasting indecent material.

A proposed law could raise fines to as much as $500,000 (270,000).

Full Congress and Senate must approve the law before it comes into force.

"It is our strong belief that voluntary industry initiatives are far preferable to government regulation," said NAB president and chief executive Edward Fritts in a statement.

The Federal Communications Commission fined a Detroit radio station $15,000 (8,000) for comments made by DJ Howard Stern last month.

Janet Jackson album cover
Jackson has released a new album

It also ruled that the NBC channel violated a federal law when broadcasting an expletive by U2 singer Bono during last year's Golden Globe Awards ceremony, although it did not impose a fine.

"This sends a signal to the industry that the gratuitous use of such vulgar language on broadcast television will not be tolerated," said FCC chairman Michael Powell in March.

The NAB's first meeting, titled the Task Force on Responsible Programming, will take place during its annual convention from 17 - 22 April in Las Vegas.

US TV giant Viacom said earlier this week that it had "tightened up" its decency rules in the wake of Janet Jackson's Super Bowl breast flash.

The company owns both CBS, which broadcast the game, and MTV, which was behind the half-time show during which the infamous Jackson incident happened.

Chairman Sumner Redstone said Viacom was "not a culprit, we were a victim" - but was more careful after the flash, which provoked 200,000 complaints.

"We are very conscious of the issue and we are watching it," he said.

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