FCC Releases Report On TV Violence
April 26, 2007 at 5:46 AM (PT)
The FCC late WEDNESDAY asked CONGRESS to give it the authority to force TV broadcasters and cable and satellite companies to restrict violent programming to late evening to protect children from watching it, and suggested that the TV companies could voluntarily reduce violent content. The report concluded that the V-chip and ratings system has not worked. The Commission also asked for CONGRESS to order cable operators to offer channels on an a la carte basis to allow subscribers to reject channels they do not want. The report, which concedes that research on the actual effect of violent programming on children is inconclusive but nevertheless calls for regulation based on, among other studies, a SURGEON GENERAL showing short-term aggressiveness in children watching violent TV, was requested by CONGRESS almost three years ago.
"Some might say such action is long overdue," wrote Chairman KEVIN MARTIN of the proposal. "Parents need more tools to protect children from excessively violent programming."
Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS said, "The research taken as a whole strongly suggests that children's constant exposure to violence on television can be desensitizing, damaging and even devastating to them and to society-at-large. I recognize that it is not an easy challenge to develop rules that pass constitutional muster, but given what amounts to a public health crisis at hand, I believe it is a challenge that must be met."
But Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL expressed concern that CONGRESS was not being informed on already-available tools and that "parents should be the first and last line of defense in protecting their children from excessively violent content, or any other content that may cause harm to children... I hope that our report does not lull some into thinking that government action alone is the answer to the television violence pandemic."
The report does not define what qualifies as "violent" programming and leaves that task to CONGRESS.