PTC Calls for Reform of TV & Movie Ratings Systems

Written by PTC | Published January 8, 2014

The Parents Television Council is calling for a complete reform of the television and motion picture ratings systems to address recently documented inaccuracies and inconsistencies of both.NC-17 Rating This week marks one year since Vice President Joe Biden held meetings with entertainment industry executives about the issue of media violence. After the meeting, industry leaders said that they have a ‘longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families.’ “In one year, the industry has done nothing to reduce media violence, and new research shows the networks routinely assign age ratings for horrifically violent content on broadcast TV deeming it appropriate for children. Movies are no better, as new research found that PG-13 rated films contain as much violence as R-rated films,” said PTC President Tim Winter. “In order for the system to work properly, content ratings must be accurate, consistent, transparent and publicly accountable. The current system is none of that. It’s time for a comprehensive overhaul of these ratings systems, and those whom the system is intended to serve – parents and families – must be allowed a seat at the table.” Parents Television Council research released last month found that some of the most violent TV-14-rated shows on broadcast TV have similar levels and types of violence as TV-MA-rated cable TV shows. Content such as child molestation, rape, mutilation/disfigurement, dismemberment, graphic killings and/or injuries by gunfire and stabbings, violent abductions, physical torture, cannibalism, burning flesh and suicide all showed up as types of violence in the study – yet broadcast TV programs containing these types of violence were rated as appropriate for 14-year-old children. The Annenberg Public Policy Center and Ohio State University found that PG-13 rated films contain as much violence as R-rated films. And another Annenberg Public Policy Center study also found that there was more sex and violence in movies rated PG-13 vs. those with R-ratings. “The industry’s lack of effort since the Biden meeting would be laughable if the consequences of an entertainment media culture awash in violence weren’t so sobering. But they are. More than 3,000 medical and sociological studies in the last 50 years have proven that children are affected by the media content they consume. “Parents instinctively protect their children from harmful content because they know that children are impacted by what they see. But they cannot protect their children by relying on an inaccurate ratings system. The need for reform is urgent, and the time for reform is now,” Winter concluded.

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