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Press Release

PTC Lauds Academic Researchers for Advocating for Congressional Hearings on TV Content Ratings System’s Failure

By: Kelly Oliver

Release Date: 4/28/2016

LOS ANGELES (April 28, 2016) – The Parents Television Council commended a group of academic researchers and professors who, in a letter this week, called on the FCC and Congress to hold hearings on the TV Content Ratings System so that the system can be changed “to be valuable for the public.”

(See letter)

“We applaud this prominent group of scholars and experts in the fields of media ratings, media effects research, and child development for advocating for urgent reform to the TV Content Ratings System. We echo their call for Congressional hearings so a public and transparent discussion can be had and so the system can finally be reformed. Our recent research found widespread, systemic problems with the system that render it wholly inaccurate, and as such, does not protect children from graphic sex, violence, and profanity on television,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“As the researchers wrote in their letter, ‘Television now has hundreds of channels and is watched on smart phones and other devices. Furthermore, the content of media has changed, including more content that is potentially harmful (Nalkur, Jamieson, & Romer, 2010). Children's access to these greater media options has also increased (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010), highlighting the need for consistent, valid, and informative ratings.’

Winter continued, “There are a myriad of reasons why the system has failed parents, but the crux of the matter is that there’s an inherent conflict of interest throughout the system. TV networks assign their own content ratings and networks – particularly broadcast - are financially motivated to not give a more adult rating to a show so not to scare advertisers away. Add to it that the board tasked with overseeing the accuracy of the system is comprised mainly of the very same network executives who inaccurately rate programming to begin with.”

Earlier this week, the PTC called on TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board and MPAA Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd to “implement wholesale and systemic change to the television content ratings system and the Monitoring Board so that it serves the needs of parents and families, rather than the interests of the television industry.” Mr. Winter urged Sen. Dodd to address these issues in a public forum.

“The TV Content Ratings System has been an utter failure and it is time for the system to change. We hope that with the added chorus of scholars, Congress and the FCC will work to correct this system for the benefit of parents and families,” Winter added.

For more information about the TV Content Ratings System, visit www.ParentsTV.org/RR

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 1.4 million members, 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.

Visit the new PTC Watchdog Blog at www.parentstv.org/blog.

Follow the PTC on Twitter: @ThePTC.
 
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To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at kelly@kellyoliverpr.com.