Indecency fines on CRTC agenda

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TORONTO -- In the latest sign of a government crackdown on excessive 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, 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 FCC 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 that 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 Bill C-327, a private member's bill that seeks to amend the Broadcasting Act to reduce exposure by children to TV violence.

Also under consideration in the Canadian Parliament is Bill C-10, which seeks to censor domestic films and TV shows through tax policies.
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