MTV hit with 255K indecency fine


But the 255K is assessed in pounds, not dollars, and the national initials are UK, not US. Several MTV/Viacom related channels operating in Great Britain were allowing various forms of the f-bomb and s-bomb, along with other choice bits of language, out into the public in advance of the British version of safe harbor. Four separate MTV offerings were recipients of fines ranging from 80K pounds to 35K pounds. The UK safe harbor, known there as watershed, begins an hour earlier in the US, at 9PM. According to a report in The Guardian, at least one UK MTV exec seemed to believe it kicked off at 7PM. The fines, which were levied on material in music videos, promotional pieces and entertainment features, were dished out after repeated warnings.

RBR/TVBR observation: In the US, it seems that most basic cable programmers adhere to some language standards during the day and even after safe harbor has kicked in, even though as a subscription, or optional, service they are not bound by the same indecency rules to which broadcasters are subject. And it seems in the UK, broadcasters are able to get away with over-the-air content that would not fly in the US. Viewed through the prism of the US system, it is therefore a little surprising that a cable outlet is the current poster child of UK indecency enforcement. Suffice it to say that if a broadcaster tried to get away with what was going out over the various UK MTV outlets, the assessment of the as-yet-unused top drawer indecency fine would be used with a multiplier to run up the total, and license revocations would probably be on the table as well.