Congress is requiring the Federal Communications Commission to launch a review of its TV content ratings system, which advocates argue has long misguided families and children.
In passing an omnibus spending bill earlier this month, federal lawmakers included language ordering the FCC to review its 22-year-old TV content rating system to determine whether or not the system is truly accurate.
The Parents Television Council, a watchdog group that pressures for a safe media environment for families, has been vocal in the past several years in calling for a reform of the TV content rating system. Since 2014, it has pressured for a review of the system.
“This is something we have been calling for for years,” PTC President Tim Winter told The Christian Post on Monday.
The PTC has opposed the fact that the FCC content rating system essentially allows networks to decide for themselves what to rate a show in terms of its content rating.
Because advertisers are less likely to advertise on shows with mature content, networks are motivated to label shows as family-friendly in order to generate more ad revenue, according to PTC.
Last September, PTC released a study showing that about 80 percent TV comedy shows rated as family-friendly expose children to sexual dialogue. Last March, PTC found that all gun violence on primetime broadcast television was rated as appropriate for children as young as 14. In some cases, gun violence was rated as appropriate for children younger than 14.
An April 2016 PTC study found that the amount and intensity of adult content on TV-PG shows have been increasing and more children were being led to watching adult content. PTC has also warned that the governing body of the rating system — the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board — is “comprised of the very same executives that rate content wrong to begin with.”
According to the recently-passed legislation, the FCC is directed to report to the House and Senate appropriations committees “on the extent to which the rating system matches the video content that is being shown and the ability of the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board to address public concerns.”
The act of Congress came after PTC sent a letter earlier this month to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai calling for a review of a 1998 report and order establishing the V-chip, TV content rating system, and the Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith