FCC Moves To Restrict Violence on TV

I think that most everyone would agree that there is too much violence on television today. The violence that children see on TV (let’s face it – many parents do not care what their children watch) has to affect children in a negative way. It has been proven that children who watch violent programming become much more aggressive. I hope the FCC is sincere and successful in their efforts to curb this nonsense that we see even in commercials.

WASHINGTON, April 25 — Concerned about an increase in violence on television, the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday urged lawmakers to consider regulations that would restrict violent programs to late evening, when most children would not be watching.

The commission, in a long-awaited report, concluded that the program ratings system and technology intended to help parents block offensive programs — like the V-chip — had failed to protect children from being regularly exposed to violence.

As a result, the commission recommended that Congress move to limit violence on entertainment programs by giving the agency the authority to define such content and restrict it to late evening television.

It also suggested that Congress adopt legislation that would give consumers the option to buy cable channels “à la carte” — individually or in smaller bundles — so that they would be able to reject channels they did not want.

“Clearly, steps should be taken to protect children from excessively violent programming,” said Kevin J. Martin, the agency’s chairman and a longtime proponent of à la carte programming. “Some might say such action is long overdue. Parents need more tools to protect children from excessively violent programming.”

The commission report, which was requested by Congress three years ago, was sharply criticized by civil liberties advocates and by the cable television industry for proposing steps that both said would be too intrusive.

“These F.C.C. recommendations are political pandering,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The government should not replace parents as decision makers in America’s living rooms. There are some things that the government does well. But deciding what is aired and when on television is not one of them.”

She added: “Government should not parent the parents.”

A spokesman at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Brian Dietz, said consumers “are the best judge of which content is appropriate for their household.”

“Simple-sounding solutions, such as à la carte regulation of cable TV packages, are misguided and would endanger cable’s high-quality family-friendly programming, leaving parents and children with fewer viewing options,” he said.

Executives at the major networks said that they wanted to study the report, which was released Wednesday evening, before commenting.

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