PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM INDECENT PROGRAMMING
(Senate - December 09, 2003)

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[Page S16213]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




             PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM INDECENT PROGRAMMING

  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to the immediate consideration S. Res. 283, a sense-of-the-
Senate resolution submitted earlier today by Senator Sessions.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A resolution (S. Res. 283) affirming the need to protect 
     children in the United States from indecent programming.

  There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the 
resolution.
  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the resolution 
be agreed to; that the preamble be agreed to; that the motions to 
reconsider be laid upon the table; and that any statements relating to 
the resolution be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The resolution (S. Res. 283) was agreed to.
  The preamble was agreed to.
  The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows:

                              S. Res. 283

       Whereas millions of people in the United States are 
     increasingly concerned with the patently offensive television 
     and radio programming being sent into their homes;
       Whereas millions of families in the United States are 
     particularly concerned with the adverse impact of this 
     programming on children;
       Whereas indecent and offensive programming is contributing 
     to a dramatic coarsening of civil society of the United 
     States;
       Whereas the Federal Communications Commission is charged 
     with enforcing standards of decency in broadcast media;
       Whereas the Federal Communications Commission established a 
     standard defining what constitutes indecency in the 
     declaratory order In the Matter of a Citizen's Complaint 
     Against Pacifica Foundation Station WBAI(FM), 56 F.C.C.2d 94 
     (1975) (referred to in this Resolution as the ``Pacifica 
     order'');
       Whereas the Federal Communications Commission has not used 
     all of its available authority to impose penalties on 
     broadcasters that air indecent material even when egregious 
     and repeated violations have been found in the cases of WKRK-
     FM, Detroit, MI, File No. EB-02-IH-0109 (Apr. 3, 2003) and 
     WNEW-FM, New York, New York, EB-02-IH-0685 (Sept. 30, 2003).
       Whereas the standard established in the Pacifica order 
     focuses on protecting children from exposure to indecent 
     language;
       Whereas the standard established in the Pacifica order was 
     upheld as constitutional by the United States Supreme Court 
     in Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica Foundation, 
     438 U.S. 726 (1978);
       Whereas the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal 
     Communications Commission has refused to sanction the airing 
     of indecent language during the broadcast of the Golden Globe 
     Awards, at a time when millions of children were in the 
     potential audience; and
       Whereas as of December 2003, an application for review is 
     pending before the Federal Communications Commission, 
     requesting that the full Commission review that decision of 
     the Enforcement Bureau: Now, therefore, be it
       (1) the Federal Communications Commission should return to 
     vigorously and expeditiously enforcing its own United States 
     Supreme Court-approved standard for indecency in broadcast 
     media, as established in the declaratory order In the Matter 
     of a Citizen's Complaint Against Pacifica Foundation Station 
     WBAI(FM), 56 F.C.C.2d 94 (1975);
       (2) the Federal Communications Commission should reassert 
     its responsibility as defender of the public interest by 
     undertaking new and serious efforts to sanction broadcast 
     licensees that refuse to adhere to the standard established 
     in that order;
       (3) the Federal Communications Commission should make every 
     reasonable and lawful effort to protect children from the 
     degrading influences of indecent programming;
       (4) The Federal Communications Commission should use all of 
     its available authority to protect the public from indecent 
     broadcasts including: (1) the discretion to impose fines up 
     to a statutory maximum for each separate ``utterance'' or 
     ``material'' found to be indecent; and (2) the initiation of 
     license revocation proceedings for repeated violations of its 
     indecency rules;
       (5) The Federal Communications Commission should resolve 
     all indecency complaints expeditiously; and should consider 
     reviewing such companies at the full Commission level; and
       (6) The Federal Communications Commission should 
     aggressively investigate and enforce all indecency 
     allegations.

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