WASHINGTON – The Rev. Al Sharpton (search), upset about violence in rap music, asked the Federal Communications Commission (search) on Thursday to punish artists and radio stations connected with violent acts.
Artists connected to such acts should be denied airplay on radio and television for 90 days, he told reporters after meeting with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin (search) and two other commissioners.
He also urged the agency to fine and review the licenses of radio stations "that encourage a pattern of this, including allowing employees to do on-the-air inciting of violence."
"The outrage of the pattern of violence that has occurred at radio stations requires some action," Sharpton said. "What has been absent is some kind of government move to stop these actions happening on federally regulated radio stations."
A spokesman for Martin declined to comment.
Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm, said Sharpton's suggestions could trample on free speech protections and may not fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the FCC.
"They pose tremendous First Amendment problems," he said. "It's very hard to come up with a standard that works. The bottom line is this is not something the FCC was created or equipped to handle."
Sharpton has been especially vocal since a bitter feud broke out between artists 50 Cent and The Game last month. A member of The Game's crew was wounded during a shooting outside a New York hip-hop radio station while 50 Cent was on air criticizing The Game.
Grammy-winning hip-hop star Lil' Kim could face years in prison when she is sentenced in June after being convicted last week for lying about a shootout outside the same New York radio station.
Sharpton also met with Democratic FCC members Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein.
"We welcomed the opportunity to discuss media violence," Copps said. "The issue of violence in the media was one the commission ought to take more seriously."