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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 June 2006, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Indecency fines go up for US vote
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake at the 2004 Superbowl
Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" has gone down in TV history
Broadcasting indecent material could soon carry much heavier penalties for US media companies if the House of Representatives passes a Senate bill.

The US Senate has approved a bill which will see the maximum penalty for showing unsuitable material rise tenfold to $325,000 (173,000).

The House will vote on Wednesday, said Kevin Madden, spokesman for House Majority Leader John Boehner.

The new bill does not change how unsuitable material is defined.

It also has no affect on how fines should be assessed. The Senate approved a rise in fines in June 2004, but the proposals were later dropped from the legislation.

Record fines

US broadcasters have been under pressure to clean up the airwaves since Janet Jackson's breast was exposed during a dance routine at the 2004 Super Bowl.

Television network CBS was fined $550,000 (315,000) for the "wardrobe malfunction".

Currently, the maximum fine that can be imposed on an individual television station is $32,500 (18,600) per breach.

This can multiply, however, because each network has dozens of affiliated stations around the US.

In March this year, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a record fine of $3.6m (1.9m) for an episode of the missing persons drama Without A Trace.

The penalty, split between 111 affiliates of CBS, was later reduced to $3.3m (1.8m).

Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), said: "In issues related to programming content, the NAB believes responsible self-regulation is preferable to government regulation."

US TV stations face record fines
16 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
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09 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
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08 Jun 04 |  Entertainment
Watchdog admits ignoring sex complaints
08 Aug 03 |  Entertainment
1.8m indecency fine for Viacom
24 Nov 04 |  Entertainment

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