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Press Release

April 10, 2008

Children Assaulted by Sex, Violence, Drugs and Explicit Language on BET and MTV
PTC and Enough is Enough Campaign Release New Report Revealing Offensive and Indecent Content on BET/MTV

LOS ANGELES (April 10, 2008) - The Parents Television Council™, in partnership with the Enough is Enough Campaign, released shocking new data about BET and MTV daytime music video programming.  As recently as March 2008, children who watched BET’s Rap City and 106 & Park and MTV’s Sucker Free on MTV were bombarded with adult content - sexual, violent, profane or obscene - once every 38 seconds.

“What BET and MTV are offering to children on these three programs is full of offensive and vulgar content, the likes of which cannot yet be found on broadcast television.  Being in the trenches fighting for better indecency enforcement and cable choice on behalf of millions of American families, we thought we’d seen it all – but even we were taken aback by what we found in the music video programs on MTV and BET that are targeted directly at impressionable children,” PTC President Tim Winter said.

“BET and MTV are assaulting children with content that is full of sexually charged images, explicit language, portrayals of violence, drug use, drug sales and other illegal activity.  Not only that, but we discovered that some offensive words aired only in muted form in December 2007, but as recent as March 2008, these same words were not muted.

“Excluding one program on BET, neither BET or MTV carried content descriptors that would work in conjunction with the V-Chip to block the programs from coming into the home or to warn parents about the presence of sexual content, suggestive dialogue, violence, or foul language.  This is a major problem for parents who are told repeatedly to rely on their V-chips to protect their children,” said Winter.

In a report prepared for the Enough is Enough Campaign, the PTC analyzed adult content airing on BET’s Rap City and 106 & Park and on MTV’s Sucker Free on MTV for a two-week period in December 2007.  These shows were chosen due to their daily new and recent video releases.  The content analyzed aired during afternoon or early evening hours, when many children are at home after school.  Because the research data from the December content contained a strikingly high volume and degree of adult-themed material, the PTC conducted an additional week of analysis on the same three programs in March 2008 for purposes of validation.  The data revealed even higher levels of adult content in March 2008 than in December 2007.

Major Findings:

  • The PTC documented 1,647 instances of offensive/adult content in the 27.5 hours of programming analyzed during the December 2007 study period, for an average of 59.9 instances per hour, or nearly one instance every minute.

  • In March 2008, there were 1,342 instances of offensive/adult content in a mere 14 hours of programming, or 95.8 instances per hour, 1.6 instances per minute, or one instance of adult content every 38 seconds.

  • To put this data in perspective, in the PTC’s most recent analysis of prime time broadcast TV Family Hour programming, the data revealed an average 12.5 instances of violent, profane and sexual content per hour.  This is equivalent to one instance every 4.8 minutes.

  • Most of what children are seeing in these music videos are sexually charged images – 45% of the adult content in the analyzed videos was of a sexual nature, followed by explicit language (29%), violence (13%), drugs use/sales (9%), and other illegal activity (3%. Although March data revealed higher quantities of content, the percentages represented similar findings (42%, 37%, 10%, 9% and 2% respectively).

  • The PTC documented 746 sexually explicit scenes or lyrical references in the 27.5 hours of analyzed programming from the December study period for an average of 27 instances per hour, or one instance every 2.2 minutes.  Sexual content was even more common in the March test period, with an average 40 instances per hour, or one instance every 90 seconds.

  • With respect to language, the PTC documented 475 uses of explicit language and obscene gestures in December for an average of 17 instances per hour, or one instance every 3.5 minutes, and 495 uses of explicit language and obscene gestures in March, for an average of 35 instances per hour, or one instance every 1.7 minutes.

  • The most commonly used expletive during both the December and March study period was (muted) “n-word,” which artists verbalized 148 times within a two-week period in December and verbalized 136 times within the one-week study period in March.

  • Vulgar slang references to sexual anatomy increased from a mere 3 instances in December to 103 references in the one-week March test period.   Other categories of sexual content, such as direct/non-slang references to sex and depictions of strippers also increased dramatically.

  • From the December broadcasts, the PTC documented 221 depictions of violence, including deaths depicted or implied, explosions, implied violence, punching/hitting, rioting, threats and weapons; this data equates to an average of 8 instances per hour, or one instance roughly every 7.5 minutes.  Violence also became more frequent in the March analysis, averaging one instance every 6.3 minutes.

  • Of the violent content in the videos analyzed, 55% included the use or depiction of weapons, the second largest category of violence was deaths depicted or implied (16%), followed by threats of violence (11%).

  • The PTC also documented 205 depictions or discussions of drug sale or use and other illegal activity during the study period, for an average of 7.5 instances per hour, or roughly one instance every eight minutes.  The depiction of illegal narcotic use or sale dominated this category – 75% of references to or depictions of illegal activity in the analyzed videos were drug-related. 

  • All episodes of Sucker Free on MTV included in this analysis were rated TV-14.  By contrast, almost every episode of 106 & Park and Rap City on BET carried only a TV-PG rating.  An exception was found with one show that aired in December, which was rated TV-14 and included descriptors for suggestive dialogue, foul language, and sex.

  • During the two-week December 2007 study period, children under 18 made up approximately 40% of the viewing audience for 106 & Park, 41% of the audience for Rap City and 39% of the audience for Sucker Free on MTV.  Because all of these programs re-air throughout the day, study results underestimate the percentage of unique children who are exposed or have been exposed to these programs in total.

“There are several solutions.  First of all, parents need to be more involved in monitoring their children’s media consumption, establishing and sticking to household rules about media use, and discussing media content with their children.  Advertisers need to be held accountable for the content their advertising dollars pay for.  Those companies that advertise on programs like 106 & Park, Rap City, and Sucker Free on MTV can and should use their unique influence with BET and MTV to push for greater responsibility where program content is concerned,” Winter said.

“Consumers must demand and receive the right to pick and choose – and pay for – only the cable channels they want coming into their homes.  It is unconscionable that parents who wish to protect their children from this content are nonetheless forced to subsidize it with their cable subscription dollars.  Finally, we must demand from the networks an accurate, transparent, and consistent ratings system that will give parents adequate tools to protect their children from inappropriate content.

“Today is just the first step towards making progress and we commend Pastor Delman Coates, founder of the Enough is Enough Campaign, and those who work with him for demanding change and accountability from BET and MTV.  It takes the courage of concerned citizens to speak out against destructive images on television and to see change happen,” Winter concluded.

To view the full study Click Here. For additional information about the Enough is Enough Campaign, visit www.enoughisenoughcampaign.com.

To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, 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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