Canada TV regulator wants to fine indecent shows

Thu Mar 6, 2008 11:13pm EST
 
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By Etan Vlessing

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - In the latest sign of a government crackdown on sex and violence in domestic films and TV shows, the country's TV regulator on Thursday called for the first-ever fines for broadcast indecency.

Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), told a parliamentary committee in Ottawa that fines would sharpen and strengthen his enforcement powers over domestic broadcasters.

"The commission should be able to fine a broadcaster for infractions. The fines would be proportionate to the offense. They would be large enough to hurt and to serve as a deterrent," he said.

Unlike the U.S. market where the Federal Communications Commission can impose fines on broadcast offenders, the CRTC currently punishes indecency with either on-air announcements that an infraction has occurred, or by a decision to shorten or deny a broadcast license renewal.

Von Finckenstein said both remedies are either too light or too heavy, and fines would help modulate enforcement.

His comments came as the Canadian House of Commons considers two bills aimed at the media industry. One seeks to amend the Broadcasting Act to reduce exposure by children to TV violence, while the other wants to censor domestic films and TV shows through tax policies.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter