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FCC Pushes Congress to Regulate TV Violence

Summed up by: Rachele Cermak

On Wednesday the FCC issued a 22-page report telling congress that regulating cable and broadcast television violence is in the best interest of the public and action needs to be taken.

"Exposure to violent programming can be harmful to children," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote in a statement accompanying the report that "Congress could provide parents more tools to limit their children's exposure to violent programming in a constitutional way."

How exactly the regulation would be designed was left up to congress to decide. What the definition of what "excessive violence" wasn't stated in the report.

Some ideas of how the violence could be regulated were to impose a new family hour; air violent content certain times of day; impose government-required content ratings for violence; and add "a la carte" family-friendly tiers on cable.

Experts on the First Amendment and TV industry executives said that attempts to regulate TV violence faces high constitutional hurdles -- particularly regarding cable, because consumers choose to buy its programming.

Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office said, "The FCC's recommendations are political pandering. The government should not replace parents as decision makers in America’s living rooms. There are some things the government does well, but deciding what is aired and when on television is not one of them."

She went on to say that parents already have many tools to protect their children like the ability to block programs and channels, changing the channel, or turning off the television. Government should not parent the parents, she said.