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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2007


PTC Applauds FCC’s Report on Violent Television

Industry Must Show Responsibility; Research Proves Violence is Harmful to Children

 

LOS ANGELES (April 26, 2007) – The Parents Television Council™ lauded the Federal Communications Commission report on TV violence, released today.

 

“I congratulate all five Commissioners for tackling head-on a very vexing issue in our society today.  While violence has been part of dramatic story-telling for millennia, the violence on television today is shockingly graphic and offensively gratuitous and it is being pumped directly into every home in the nation on a daily basis.  The scientific community has repeatedly stated its consensus opinion that such material poses a grave risk, particularly to children.  With its report, the FCC has taken its public interest obligation seriously in addressing the issue and offering a broad range of solutions,” said PTC™ President Tim Winter.

 

“We support the notion that the volume and degree of violence on broadcast television should be reduced, especially during the times of day when children comprise a significant portion of the viewing audience.  And we applaud the Commission’s endorsement for parents, not the cable industry, to determine which networks we subscribe to and pay for.

 

“We desperately hope that this report will achieve what has heretofore been fruitless: To motivate the industry to step up to the plate, take responsibility for its product, and fix a problem that it has not only created but perpetuated.  And make no mistake about it: the industry has the ability to fix it. The question is whether it will do so.

 

“If we look at the industry’s 50+ year track record for responsible self-governance in its use of the public’s airwaves, the outlook for action is disheartening.  The industry commissioned its own research study to disprove what over a thousand other medical and clinical reports have concluded – that violent media consumption has a harmful effect on children.  Industry executives testified before Congress that they would impose a zero-tolerance policy for indecent material, and then they filed suit in Federal Court to use the F-word in front of children.  Rather than changing its behavior, the industry hired the most celebrated and storied lobbyist in the nation’s history to get the Congress off their collective backs, and then they proclaimed a combined $550 million initiative to educate parents about blocking technology – an initiative that has been proven to be a complete and utter failure.  And recently the industry heralded its TV ratings system as a panacea, even though they originally denounced the idea as heresy and censorship. This ratings system has been proven to be arbitrary, inaccurate, and entirely self-serving.

 

“Clearly we are on a path towards legislation.  In fact, the legislation has already been written. The question is whether this report will motivate the industry to do the right thing.  We sincerely hope it will do so,” Winter concluded.

 

Findings from two recent PTC studies show the need for increased industry responsibility:

  • The PTC found that violence on prime time broadcast television has increased 75% since 1998. The television season that began in the fall of 2005 was also one of the most violent ever recorded by the PTC.

  • Upon review of prime time broadcast programming from 1995 to 2001, the PTC found 110 scenes of torture.  From 2002 to 2005, the number increased to 624 scenes of torture.

  • The TV ratings system is still not accurate, and thus grossly unreliable, due to the fact that content descriptors are being arbitrarily and inconsistently applied by the broadcast networks during prime time viewing hours.  This means that parents cannot rely on blocking technology to protect their children from inappropriate content.

These PTC studies can be viewed at: http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/publications/reports/violencestudy/exsummary.asp and http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/publications/reports/ratingsstudy/exsummary.asp.

 

To schedule an interview with a PTC representative, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.


The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

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