PTC Outlines FCC Priorities to Better Serve Families

Written by PTC | Published November 14, 2016

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The PTC is calling on Congress, the FCC, and the incoming Trump Administration to move swiftly on four key FCC-related issues.

“With the new presidential administration will come a new FCC and a new communication policy agenda. No doubt there will be considerable scrutiny and debate surrounding some of the more contentious issues, such as Net Neutrality, Joint Sales Agreements, and Spectrum Allocation. That’s why we are calling on the FCC, and those with oversight of it, to immediately address four key issues that will serve the interests of America’s children and families, and which already have receive broad bipartisan support,” said PTC President, Tim Winter. The Parents Television Council is urging swift attention on the following four issues: 1. The Senate should immediately vote to confirm FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to a second term. “Commissioner Rosenworcel has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the needs of children and families; and she has done so not just at the FCC, but throughout her career in public service. She has demonstrated an ability to reach across party lines, and she brings an insightful and informed voice on behalf of families across our nation. We urge the Senate to reconfirm Commissioner Rosenworcel immediately,” said Winter. 2. During its regulatory review of the proposed AT&T/Time Warner merger, regulators must impose some level of network unbundling, and greater consumer choice, as a condition to approving the merger. “We urge the Congress, the FCC and the Department of Justice to ensure that conditions are put in place to facilitate greater choice for families, and indeed for all cable consumers. There are numerous options available to the regulatory bodies, such as requiring ATT/DirecTV to disclose to consumers the per-channel prices they’re forced to pay every month; allowing consumers to 'opt out' of paying for certain unwanted networks; allowing consumers to create their own network bundles; and allowing consumers to pay for networks on an 'a la carte' basis,” he said. 3. The FCC must adjudicate any open and outstanding Broadcast Indecency complaints. “While we are grateful for the important indecency enforcement action undertaken during Chairman Wheeler’s tenure, an estimated 200,000 broadcast indecency complaints have yet to be adjudicated. The FCC needs to act on these outstanding complaints and, where appropriate, sanction those broadcast license-holders who violated the law. Despite the pleadings of the broadcast television networks, the Supreme Court refused to strip the FCC’s authority on this matter. It is time for the Commission to move forward with this congressionally-mandated duty,” said Winter. 4. Congress and the FCC must conduct a public review of the TV Content Ratings System to make it more accurate, consistent, transparent and accountable to the public. “Rather than warning parents and protecting children from harmful and age-inappropriate programming, the TV Content Ratings System instead protects the financial interests of Hollywood. Every television program’s content rating is determined by the TV network that airs it; and the system’s oversight is entrusted to a 'monitoring board' comprised of those very same executives who rate those programs inaccurately. This creates an inherent conflict of interest because the networks generate more advertising dollars for programs rated TV-PG and TV-14 than they do for programs rated TV-MA. PTC research has demonstrated that harsh profanity, graphic violence, explicit sexual depictions and descriptions, nudity, drug use and other adult content are routinely rated by the networks as appropriate for children. If the V-Chip and Content Rating System are to be of any value, the Congress and the FCC must provide a public forum to address their effectiveness,” he said. Winter concluded, “The circumstances disclosed in a sexual harassment lawsuit recently filed by an FCC employee paint a truly vexing picture of the culture among some FCC staffers. Perhaps it explains why the Commission has not felt an urgency to do more on these issues. If FCC staffers won’t even protect its own employees from sexually explicit content, the culture at the commission is ripe to ignore the content concerns of American families. We hope that swift action, as outlined here, will result in a positive and immediate improvement.”

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